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Introduction Page 1 

Algjs oe Seaweeds 13 

Fishes 21 

Fishes {continued) SI 

Molluscs 36 

Molluscs and Crustacea 43 

Annelids 59 


The Star-fish Page 72 

Sea Anemones 84 

Fishes 95 

Fishes (continued) 105 

Fresh-water Molluscs, Crustacea, and Spiders 116 

Insects 128 

Insects (continued) 137 


Flats II. having been spoiled in the printing is omitted. The reader 
■will notice that no reference is made to it in the text. 



1. Purple Laver (Porphyra 

laciniata 15 

2. Carrageen (Chmdrus 

crispus) 15 

3. Cladophora pellucida 18 

4. Ulva latissima (green 

laver) 13 

5. Codium tomentosum. 

6. Bryopsis plumosa 19 

7. Enteromorpha. 


1. Patella pellucida 43 

2. Common Periwinkle 43 

3. Trochus cinerarius 42 

4. The Squid 36 

5. Doris eoecinea 39 

6. Wentletrapshell 41 

7. The Mail-shell (Chiton 

marginatus) 44 

8. Goniodoris nodosa 39 

9. Scyllsea pelagica 38 

10. Gemellaria loricata 44 

11. Scrupocellaria scruposa 44 

12. Bugula avicularia 44 

13. Eolis papillosa 38 

14. The Sea-mat (Flustra 

foliacea) 44 

15. Bicellaria ciliata 44 

16. Do. magnified 44 

17. Dotofragilis 38 


1. Green Crab (Carcinm 

mcenas) 45 

2. Harper Crab, or Sea Toad 

(Hyas araneus) 48 

3. Corophium longieorne ... 56 

4. Caprella linearis 56 

6. Slender legged Crab 

(Stenorhynchus pha- 

lanjium) 49 


6. Phoxiehilidium eocei- 

neum 57 

7. White Shrimp (Palcemon 

squilla) 55 

8. Soldier Crab (Pagurus 

Bernhardus) 52 

9. Common Shrimp (Cran- 

gon vulgaris) 55 


1. Sea Urchin 68 

2. Brittle Star 75 

3. Sun Star (Solaster pap- 

posa) 75 

4. Cydippe 87 

5. Sarsia 89 

6. Sabella alveolaria 61 

7. Sea Mouse (Aphrodite 

aculeata) 59 

8. Sand Mason, or Shell. 

binder 66 

9. Serpula contortupli- 

cata 65 


1. Actinia mesembryanthe- 

mum 76 

2. Plumose Anemone (Ac* 

tinoloba dianthus) 84 

3. Cave-dwelling Anemone 

(Sagartia troglodytes) 85 

4. Cave-dwelling Anemone, 

closed and unattached 85 

5. Coryne 86 

6. Tubularia indivisa 66 

7. Tubularia gracilis 86 

8. Sertularia argentea 86 

9. Plumularia falcata 86 

10. Laomedea genicnlata 86 

11. Laomedea gelatinosa...... 86 

12. Campanulariavolubilis... 87 





1. Common Newt (male) ... 92 

2. Do. (female) ... 92 

3. Common Water Spider 

(Argyronetra aguatica) 126 

4. Frog-bit 93 

5. Anacharis 92 

6. Vallisneria 92 

g | Fresh-water Shrimps... 124 


1. Trout 109 

2. Perch (Perca fiuviatilis) 100 

3. Carp 108 

4. Pike, or Jack {Esox 

Lucius) 107 

5. Ten-apined Stickleback... 95 

6. Three-spined Stickleback 95 

7. Eel 109 

8. Miller's Thumb (Cottus 

gobio) 98 


1. Planorbis vortex 118 

2. Paludina vivipara 117 

3. Ancylus fluviatilis 119 

4. Larva of Colymbetes 131 

6. Bithynia tentaculata 116 

6. Limneeus stagnalis 119 

7. Larva of Acilius sulcatus 130 

8. Larva of Hydrophilus 

piceus 132 

9. Fresh-water Sponge 120 

10. Cristatella mucedo 122 

11. Larva of Whirlwig 132 

12. Larva of Great Water- 

Beetle 128 


1. Dyticus marginalia 128 

2. Hydrophilus piceus 132 

3. Colymbetes 131 

4. Acilius sulcatus 130 

riff. PAGB 

5. Whirlwig Gyrinus) 131 

6. Helophorus aquaticus ... 134 

7. Hydrophilus piceus 132 


1. Eanatra seizing its prey 145 

2. Caddis - fly (Leptooerus 

Tiiger) 134 

3. Caddis-case of sand 136 

4. Do. of grass 136 

5. Do. of leaves and 
sticks 136 

6. Do. made of small 
shells 137 

7. Do. do. 137 

8. Do. offir-leaves 137 

9. Eanatra 144 

10. Pupa of Caddis-fly 139 

11. Caddis-fly (Phrt/ganea 

grandis) 135 

12. Larva of Caddis-fly 138 

13. Do. of Dragon fly 

(Agrion) 139 

14. Do. of Dragon - fly 
{Libellula depressa) ... 139 


1. May fly {Ephemera 

vulgata) 142 

2. Larva of do 142 

3. Water Boatman (Noto- 

nectafurcata) 143 

4. Water Scorpion (INepa 

cinerea) 144 

5. Drone-fly 148 

6. Stratiomys chameleon ... 148 

7. GDat (Culex pipiens) 146 

8. Water-measurers 146 

9. Cypris 149 

10. Water-flea (Daphnia) ... 149 

JM Cyclops 149 

13.' Dragon-fly 140 

14. Dragon-fly quitting the 

pupal shell 141 




IN the mythology of every land, the innate 
curiosity of the human mind betrays itself. 
Whether we take the ancient tales of Greece or 
Rome ; whether we decipher the hieroglyphs of 
Egypt ; whether we revel in the fanciful romances 
of the glowing East, or are enchained by the stern, 
yet not less poetical legends of the frozen North ; 
we find that the prominent idea is the insatiable 
desire of possessing hidden knowledge. In some 
few instances this ruling j>assion aspires to the 
spirit of prophecy, but in nearly every case is con- 
tented with its present sphere, and only seeks for a 
more extended knowledge of the material universe, 
its riches and its capabilities. 

Sometimes the fortunate hero is enabled to soar 
through the air ; he ascends to the skies, and learns 
the secrets of the stars. Sometimes he penetrates 
to the central chambers of the world, anoints his 
eyes with magic salve, and the treasures of earth 
are unveiled to his cleansed vision. Sometimes he 
enters into alliance with the semi-spiritual beings 
that people the elements, and becomes a temporary 



partaker of their privileges. Perhaps the deities 
of the sea claim affinity with him, and carry him 
down into the ocean depths ; where, with the 
nobles of the sea and their attendant Nereids, 
he holds strange festivals in submarine palaces. 
Perhaps the Naiads of the river become enamoured 
of him, decoy him beneath the waves which they 
rule, and keep him a very willing prisoner in 
their mysterious home, enchained by their beauty, 
and forgetful of his earthly love. 

In imagination we follow their adventures, speed 
our course through the sky, sink into the earth, or 
traverse the waters, and picture to ourselves the 
wonders which such privileges would reveal to us. 

" Methought, I saw a thousand fearful wrecks ; 
A thousand men that fishes gnawed upon ; 
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl, 
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels, 
All scattered in the bottom of the sea." 

Specially does imagination revel in the depths of 
ocean, and disport itself among the caves of ocean, 
paved with gems and pearls, hung with living 
tapestries of sponge and seaweed, and peopled 
with strange, weird shapes, that crawled upon its 
sides, or bright glittering fishes, that darted through 
its portals. 

Thanks to modern inventions, many of these 
hidden wonders are now disclosed, and the curious 
inquirer can see these beings without the assistance 
of either Nereid or Naiad. Some of these wonders 
will be described in the following pages, and those 
who will endeavour to search for themselves will 
find that not even the vivid pages of fairy lore 
could picture beings of stranger aspect, or endow 
them with more singular power, than may be seen 
in a few gallons of water while we sit at ease in 


our own rooms. We need not take the trouble to 
descend in a diving-bell, nor fit on our head the 
diver's enormous helmet ; for we can find in a 
small vessel of salt or fresh water enough to give us 
occupation for many a long year, and to disclose to 
us many of the secrets of nature. In the following 
pages I shall endeavour to show how any one can 
penetrate into the wonders of the deep, and can, in 
the . seclusion of his own room, study the manners 
and customs of the inhabitants of the waters. 

The history of aquaria is quite recent, but in the 
few years of its existence it displays many of the 
characteristics of more important histories, and has 
its origin, its rise, its decadence, and its renovation. 
Some years ago, a complete aquarium mania ran 
through the country. Every one must needs have 
an aquarium, either of sea or fresh water, the 
former being preferred. 

There were grand etymological discourses in the 
learned papers respecting the correct name which 
ought to be given to it. Some called it vivarium, 
but were met by objectors who said the Zoological 
Garden was equally a vivarium, and so was a dog- 
kennel or a stable. In order to meet the difficulty, 
they proposed the word aqua-vivarium — a word 
which certainly had the advantage of being correct, 
but the disadvantage of being complicated. Then 
came others who preferred the name aquarium, and 
straightway this name was adopted by common 
consent. It is true that exact linguists rejected 
the word, citing the Latin dictionary, which states 
that aquarius was either a water-bailiff, a water- 
man, or " the man who carries the watering-pot " 
in the Zodiac. Still aquarium is a simple and 
easy word, and entirely superseded aqua- vivarium, 
just as in a later year the word telegram super- 
seded telegrapheme. 

B 2 


The fashionable lady had magnificent plate-glass 
aquaria in her drawing-room, and the schoolboy 
managed to keep an aquarium of lesser pretensions 
in his study. The odd corners of newspapers were 
filled with notes on aquaria, and a multitude of 
shops were opened for the simple purpose of 
supplying aquaria and their contents. The feeling, 
however, was like a hothouse plant, very luxuriant 
under artificial conditions, but failing when deprived 
of external assistance. 

Perhaps the beautiful plate-glass aquarium fell 
to pieces, discharged several gallons of sea-water 
over the fashionable carpet, and covered the 
fashionable furniture with sea-anemones, crabs, 
prawns, and other inhabitants of the waters. Or 
some of the inmates died, and the owner was too 
careless to remove them. Consequently they were 
left in the holes to which they had retreated, and 
in a few days they avenged themselves for the 
neglect by rendering the water so fetid that no one 
with ordinary sensibility could remain in the room. 
The schoolboy was very careful of his aquarium 
for a time, but in a month or two became tired of 
the constant attention required for its maintenance, 
and so gave it up. 

fto, in due course of time, nine out of every ten 
aquaria were abandoned; many of the shops were 
given up, because there was no longer any custom ; 
and to all appearance the aquarium fever had run 
its course, never again to appear, like hundreds of 
similar epidemics. 

But there was one element of strength in the 
aquarium possessed by none of the others. This 
was the study of Nature in one of her hitherto 
unstudied phases. Those who merely treated the 
aquarium as a toy soon became tired of it, and cast 
it away accordingly, but those who saw its real 


capability became more enamoured of it daily. 
Now, therefore, the number of aquaria is not nearly 
so great as was the case some years ago, but those 
that are in active existence are properly tended, 
and the teachings carefully learned. As I hope 
that many of my readers will desire to establish 
and to maintain aquaria, both of fresh and salt- 
water, I will give a few hints as to the stocking 
and managing: them. 

Now, in the first place, the very name of 
Aquarium terrifies many, especially those who are 
unversed in its easily-solved mysteries. The very 
name seems somewhat pretentious, and the popular 
idea of the aquarium is quite consonant with such 
an idea. The word aquarium suggests an expensive 
structure of plate-glass, shining metal, and elaborate 
rockwork, tenanted with rare actinite, strangely- 
shaped Crustacea, and gorgeous fishes, and decorated 
with seaweed of light green, dark purple; and rich 

Of course, it is perfectly possible to have such 
structures, and to fill them with such inhabitants.; 
but for all practical purposes there is not the least 
necessity for either the elaborate vessel or the costly 
inmate. After an experience of some twelve years, 
I am disposed to multiply the vessels rather than 
to expend money in animals ; and have found that 
the simpler a vessel can be, the better it is for an 
aquarium, provided it fulfils certain conditions. 

There are two forms of vessels which are 
generally offered to the public, and both of them 
are about as bad as bad can be. The one is a deep, 
oblong vessel made of plate-glass, with a metal bed 
and metal framework. Set a pack of playing-cards 
on its edge, and there is the precise shape of the 
aquarium generally sold in ordinary shops. This 
being rather expensive, many persons demur at its 


price, and are then offered the ordinary gold-fish 
globe, or an improvement thereon — a vessel that 
looks like a glass bell standing on its head, and 
fixed into a wooden pedestal. I shall now proceed 
to show why these forms are entirely wrong ; and 
then describe a variety of shapes which are well 
adapted to the purpose, and which are equally easy 
to be obtained and cheaply to be purchased. 

In the first place, all glass vessels have one 
radical error : they admit too much light ; and, as 
a general rule, the creatures "which inhabit the 
water are not lovers of light. Many of them lurk 
unseen in holes, or under stones, or among roots ; 
and even those which do show themselves boldly 
are always glad of darkened places of refuge, 
whereto they can fly when alarmed. Vessels 
wholly made of glass afford no such privileges, and 
therefore the inhabitants are often sadly incon- 
venienced, and in many cases die, simply because 
they are worn out by want of repose. 

Moreover, as if the poor animals were not 
sufficiently worried, the aquarium is often put on a 
table or stand, and placed exactly in front of a 
window, so as to have as much light as possible 
upon it, and to have the water warmed by the 
direct rays of the sun, until the miserable inmates 
are half-killed with the heat and totally dazzled by 
the light. Such an excess of light is injurious in 
another sense, especially in marine aquaria, because 
it encourages the growth of conferva and seaweed 
to such an extent that they become a positive 
nuisance, instead of a useful accessory. 

The form of the ordinary-shaped tanks is quite 
wrong. They certainly hold a large quantity of 
water, and therefore are thought fit to contain a 
large number of inmates. But it must be re- 
membered that fishes, and other inhabitants of the 


waves, exhaust the water by their respiration 
quite as much as we exhaust air. 

If you put a quantity of fishes into a small and 
deep vessel full of water, some will die in a very 
short time, and only a few hours will elapse before 
all will have perished. It is therefore as absolutely 
necessary that the abstracted oxygen should be 
restored to the exhausted water, as that the atmo- 
sphere of a crowded room should be replenished 
with fresh air. In consequence of this necessity, 
various plans for aeration were employed by 
aquarium-keepers. Ingenious pumps were attached 
to the tanks, by means of which streams of air 
were forced through the water. Some persons 
employed syringes, filled them with water, and 
squirted the water into the tank with such force as 
to carry a quantity of air among the inhabitants of 
the aquarium. Others were content with taking 
up some of the water and letting it fall back with 
a splash, so as to produce the same result. 

Now, all these proceedings were absolutely neces- 
sary, on account of the shape of the tank, and the 
stillness of the water. Many marine creatures, such 
as certain Crustacea, molluscs, and sea-anemones, 
live close to the shore, and are accustomed, not only 
to be left dry during extreme low water, but to have 
the spray dashing about them twice a day, as the 
advancing tide breaks over the rocks or sand. But 
the very form of the common oblong tank opposes 
itself to both those conditions. It is so deep that 
a perfect stillness reigns, and presents so small a 
surface to the air that there is no chance of 
oxygenizing the water except by artificial means. 
Water absorbs the oxygen of the air with won- 
derful rapidity, and if a sufficient surface be exposed, 
it will absorb enough to supply the wants of re- 
spiration for a goodly number of inhabitants. 


Were it not for this fact, the fishes in a pond 
would soon die for want of oxygen. 

It will now be seen that an aquarium which is 
to fulfil, as far as possible, the same conditions as 
the river, the pond, or the sea, ought to be as wide 
as possible, so as to present a large superficies of 
water to the air. Moreover, it must not be made of 
a transparent material, siich as glass, but its sides 
ought to be opaque, except in front ; and the front 
should not be turned towards the window. Should 
the reader happen to possess one of these ordinary 
tanks, he can vastly improve it by covering the 
back and the ends with thick pasteboard, so that 
the light is shut out, and the pasteboard can easily 
be removed for the purpose of inspecting the 
interior of the tank. 

But there is no need whatever for a complicated 
glass tank, which is so deep that the owner finds 
great difficulty in getting at the various objects, and 
is too heavy to be moved, and occasionally apt to 
worry its owner by a sudden disposition to leak. 
Any kind of tub or pan will do for an aquarium, 
provided that the owner cares more for the inmates 
than the appearance of their dwelling. I have now 
at my side a common earthenware pan, eighteen 
inches wide, and three deep, in which are flourish- 
ing half a dozen sea-anemones, two kinds of sea- 
weed, and a number of purpura and other common 

A crab lived in it for a considerable time, 
and would probably have been alive now but for 
a singular misfortune. One evening, before the 
lamps were lighted, I was coming up the stairs to 
my room — it is situated at the top of the house ; 
and upon the third stair from the front door I trod 
upon something, and crushed it. On bringing a 
lisht and looking to see what strange obiect could 


have been on the stairs, T was equally surprised 
and sorry to find that it was my little crab. It was 
all but dead, and recovery was hopeless. The fact 
was, that I had forgotten to cover the pan, and the 
crab must have clambered up- the side, and, hitching 
itself on one of the shells, got out of the pan and 
traversed the room. But how the creature con- 
trived to get out at the door of my room, and 
make its way down two flights of stairs and along 
a landing, is a mystery which I cannot solve. 

I was the more sorry because the creature had 
learned to overcome its first dread of a human, 
being, and, instead of scuttling under a stone when 
I approached, remained quite unconcernedly on the 
top of an ulva-covered flint, or crawled leisurely 
over the bottom of the pan. At first it was sadly 
discomfited at its inability to burrow ; the yellow 
colour of the pan evidently giving it the idea that 
it was upon its accustomed sand ; but it soon gave 
up the attempt, and seemed quite reconciled to its 

In this primitive tank there are some flints, with 
a little ulva and enteromorpha adhering to them. 
I had some with specimens of the ocean barnacle ; 
but as the creatures declined to live, the stones 
were removed. As to the anemones, they have 
chosen to fix themselves so tightly in an old pomade 
pot in which they were conveyed to my house, 
that I have not disturbed them. 

Of course, in a vessel of this kind, the loss of 
water by evaporation is very rapid, and must be 
repaired by constant supplies of fresh water. 
There is not the least difficulty in adding the 
needful water, nor need it be distilled, as is stated 
by some aquarium-keepers. I simply use soft 
water, taking care that it is clear, and pour it 
into the pan without any precaution. I do not 


pour it upon the anemones, because the fresh 
water might fill the jar in which they have sta- 
tioned themselves, and so damage them seriously. 
Otherwise, I just pour in the water, and let it mix 
itself as it likes, without stirring it or doing any- 
thing to disturb the inmates. 

Once or twice, when I have been away from 
home for a day or two, the evaporation has been 
equal to nearly one-third of its amount, and the 
remaining fluid formed, in consequence, an ex- 
ceedingly concentrated solution of marine salts. 
The inhabitants did not like the state of things 
at all. The shells were all out of the water, and 
the anemones much contracted, although the tips 
of their tentacles protruded. When the fresh 
water was added, they withdrew the tentacles 
entirely, and made themselves as flat as they 
could ; but in an hour they had recovered them- 
selves, and were waving their long tentacles in all 
their beauty. 

If the young observer is lodging at the sea-side,, 
let me advise him to set up — not one large aqua- 
rium, but a series of pans, previously taking care 
to propitiate the landlady, who is sure to offer 
very forcible objections to such articles. Get a 
glazier to cut glass covers for your pans, or the 
inmates will escape, and the pans be filled with 

We will now proceed to a short description of 
the various vegetable and animal inhabitants of 
an aquarium, and will begin with the simplest ; 
namely, the Seaweed. 

There are many species of seaAveed, which are 
either pretty in colour, graceful in form, or im- 
posing in appearance, which can never be kept in 
an aquarium. Not only will they die with great 
rapidity, but they cause an ugly appearance in 


tlie tank, giving out slime and other unpleasant 
substances, and often producing an odour pe- 
culiarly abominable, which cannot be easily de- 
scribed, but which, when once smelt, is never 

As a general rule, the young aquarium-keeper 
may reject almost every seaweed that he finds, 
and to this rule there are but a very few excep- 
tions. He may think it rather hard to be obliged 
to do so, because some of them, especially those 
belonging to the red division, are so pretty that 
they are for a time extremely ornamental, while 
others are so elegant or so curious in shape, that 
it is, at first, very hard to resist the temptation of 
placing them in the tank. Such, for example, is 
the Delesseria, whose fronds may often be found 
on the shore after a gale, having been torn from 
their attachments by the waves. It is so elegant 
in shape, and so lovely in colour, that even an 
experienced aquarium-keeper can seldom pass it, 
as it lies on the shore, without picking it up and 
admiring its exquisite fronds, so delicate in struc- 
ture, and so leaf-like in form. Kothing looks 
better in an aquarium for a day or two; but then- 
its beauty fades, the frond becomes paler in spot?, 
then is ragged at the edge, and finally breaks up 
into fragments. So it is with the curious coral- 
lines, with their strange chalky skeleton ; and so 
it is with the whole of the red seaweeds, in spite 
of their enticing beauty. 

As to the brown varieties, many of them are so 
large that they could not be placed in any ordinary 
tank, but there are some which are small enough 
to find space, and curious enough to induce a be- 
ginner to place them in the aquarium. Such, for 
example, is the strange-looking Padina, whose 
fan-like fronds, Avith their regular dark bands, are 



not very frequently found on our coasts, except 
those in the extreme south. 

Some years ago, however, I observed a large 
colony of the Padina growing upon a ridge of 
rocks running seaward from Foreness Point, at 

Margate. Every 
visitor to this 
Hf) place knows the 
ggSm->i£s rocks, dark with 
their heavy cove r- 
j§P ing of seaweeds, 
that project into 
!| the sea, and are 
left bare at low 
water. Through 
these rocks run, 
at various inter- 
vals, certain chan- 
nels which are free from the bladder-wrack, and 
other large alga?, with which the rocks are so 
thickly clothed, and which serve to conduct the 
waters of the receding tide back to the sea. 

One day, at very low tide, when wading along 
one of these channels, I saw a long ridge of some 
kind of alga?, different from those species which 
were most prevalent, but, owing to the ripple 
caused by a sharp breeze, could not discover what 
it was. On gathering it I was surprised to find 
that it was the Padina pavonia itself — just the 
very last species I should have expected to find at 
Margate. One might hope to discover many of 
the more hardy species, but to find an alga which 
is mostly confined to the extreme south, off the 
Margate shore, which lies open to the north wind 
and gets the full benefit of it, was a circumstance 
which could hardly be expected. 




THE green varieties of algae are most easily kept, 
and the very best of them is, fortunately, the 
most plentiful. This is the Ulva latissima (Plate 
I. fig. 4), whose broad green, ribbon-like fronds 
are to be found in abundance. It is popularly 
known as Green Laver, because, when gathered 
and stewed down slowly, it is redticed to a gela- 
tinous substance which is called laver. The laver 
is said to be extremely nutritious, like the Carra- 
geen or Irish moss, which also grows in abundance 
on our coasts, and by some persons is very much 
liked. An allied species, which will be presently 
mentioned, is employed in the same manner. The 
green laver is sometimes called the sea-lettuce, on 
account of the shape and colour of its fronds. 

There is no better alga for an aquarium than 
the green laver. The reader will remember some 
remarks upon the mode of supplying oxygen to 
the water, and the trouble Avhich is sometimes 
involved in performing that operation. Now, the 
ulva saves much of this trouble, and by its own 
respiration takes from the water those elements 
which the water does not require, and supplies 
those which it needs. If a frond of ulva be placed 
in some sea-water, and set in a tolerably light spot, 
a most beautiful appeai-ance will be presented. 
The entire sui-face of the frond will be covered 
with minute bubbles of air, looking as if diamond 


dust had been scattered over it. By degrees these 
bubbles enlarge, then coalesce together, and finally 
are detached from the plant and float to the sur- 
face. If the contents of these bubbles be gathered 
together and examined, they will be found to con- 
sist chiefly of oxygen gas, just the very element of 
which the animal inhabitants deprive the water by 
their respiration. The plant, in its turn, requires 
the elements exhaled by the animals, and so the 
circle of nature completes itself. 

If the aquarium-keeper would like to test the 
quality of this gas himself, he can do so in a very 
simple manner. Let a bottle be filled with water, 
and then placed, mouth downwards, in the aqua- 
rium. The mouth of the bottle should then be 
held over the leaves, and the bubbles touched with 
a small stick or wire. They will then become 
detached, and will rise into the bottle, displacing 
their own bulk of the water. When all the 
bubbles are collected, the stopper is placed in the 
bottle, while it is still under water, and the bottle 
can then be removed with its contents. 

There is no necessity to have a large quantity of 
these algse, and, indeed, there is no absolute neces- 
sity to have any alga? at all, if the vessel is wide 
and shallow, as has already been described. More- 
over, if the conditions should be favourable, the 
multitudinous spores will settle themselves on the 
stones or sides of the tank, and will cover them 
with a soft coating of minute algae, which will 
serve the double purpose of looking pretty and 
aiding in regenerating the water. The more light 
that is admitted, the faster will these spores de- 
velop themselves, and it is often necessary to keep 
a sponge fixed to a handle for the purpose of keep- 
ing the glass front of the aquarium clear from 
these tiny settlers. 



Another useful alga is the Purple Laver (Por- 

phyra laciniata). 
close resemblance 
very different in 
colour, being dark- 
ish purple instead 
of green. In some 
parts of this coun- 
try it is much eaten, 
being cooked in the 
same manner as the 
green laver. In Ire- 
land it forms a fa- 
vourite article of 
food, and in many 
places is always 
cooked and brou ght 
to table in a silver 

In form this species bears a 
to the green laver ; but it is 

Chondrus crispus. 

saucepan. When cooked, it is popularly called 

As we are on this ground, I may mention that 
two more edible seaweeds are plentiful on our 
coasts. One is the Carrageen {Chondrus crispus)* 
which is often known under the name of Irish moss, 
and which, when reduced by boiling to a gelatinous 
consistency, is mixed with tea and coffee, or some- 
times eaten by itself as jelly. This alga is veiy com- 
mon, and any quantity may be gathered in an hour. 
It is extremely variable in colour, the hues differ- 
ing according to the locality and depth of water. 
Generally it is dark green, with a tinge of yellow 
near the edges ; but, in deep water, the yellow 
hue is not developed, and, in consequence, the 
frond assumes a purplish tint. Light seems to 
produce the yellow colour ; for in specimens that 
grow in the pools near high- water mark, and which, 

* See also Plate I. fig. 2. 


this vegetable glue to make 

in consequence, are much exposed to the direct rays 
of the sun, the colour is greenish-yellow, the latter 
hue predominating. 

When washed in fresh water and well dried, 
it becomes almost horny in texture ; and when 
macerated in hot water, it dissolves like gelatine. 
This gelatinous substance is, by the way, admirably 
adapted for fastening dried seaweed to paper. In 
most marine alga^ there is a sufficient amount of 

them adhere to paper 
as firmly as if paper 
and alga were one 
substance. But there 
are several species 
that will not adhere 
without external aid. 
Various materials 
have been employed 
for the purpose ; such 
as gum, isinglass, and 
liquid glue. Butthere 
is nothing which 
really answers the 
purpose so well as 
gelatine made from 
the Irish moss. This 
species can be kept in 
an aquarium, if care 
be taken. But it is 
large, occupies much 
space, and is certainly 
not rare enough, nor 
handsome enough, to 
be worth the trouble. 

Iridea ednlis. 

The last species of edible seaweed which will be 
mentioned is the Dulse or Dillosk, a species which 
is found on many of our coasts, and which is very 



plentiful in some localities. Its form is given in 
the illustration, and its colour is a deep, dark red. 
It derives its name of Iridea from the iridescent 
hues which play on its surface when submerged, 
and which change with every movement of the 
plant or of the spectator. The dillosk is a favourite 
article of food in many places, especially on some of 
the coasts of Ireland, where it is eaten both raw 
and cooked. Some persons are so extravagantly 
fond of it that they always have it served up for 
breakfast. The taste, however, seems to be an 
acquired one, and it is certainly one which I never 
could acquire, though I have given it a fair trial. 
Perhaps the taste for dillosk is like that for olives, 
and comes naturally to some persons, while others 
find themselves unable to perceive any gratification 
in eating either the one or the other. 

Among the green seaweeds that may be kept in 

v Willi lllltfllf mmm* 

Cladoplwra, arcta. 
an aquarium may be mentioned the very prolific 


species which is scientifically termed Cladophora 
arcta. This is by no means a pretty species when 
taken from the water, though it is handsome 
enough when submerged.* But, to the seaside 
observer, it is one of the treasure-houses of the 
deep. Should the reader of these pages like to go 
to the seaside and examine for himself, let me 
recommend one excellent plan. 

Mark out a small tract of shore, say fifty yards 
wide, and work it thoroughly. Off with such im- 
pediments as respectable shoes and stockings ; but 
put on an old pair of shoes, with tolerably stout 
soles, or you will find that wading is not so pleasant 
a process as it looks. There are sharp stones; there 
are limpet shells, which cut the feet whichever way 
they may be lying ; there are the acorn barnacles, 
which render the walking as agreeable as the 
celebrated journey with peas (unboiled) in the 
shoes ; there are mussels, which make the unlucky 
wader think that he is walking over a road com- 
posed of broken bottles ; there are sharp splinters 
of wood, and, in fact, everything that makes the 
wader look to his footsteps, and not to the inhabi- 
tants of the sea. The area being rigidly marked 
out, let every square foot be carefully examined, 
beginning as soon as the receding tide will allow 
the inhabitants of the water to be seen, and con- 
tinuing until the waves begin to return on their 
endless track. Look into every crevice, examine 
each projecting angle of rock, turn over each loose 
stone, lift up each bunch of seaweed, and pick up 
every shell that you come across. Do not be dis- 
heartened at the slowness of the process, for it is 
the only method of working a locality thoroughly. 
At first it is rather tedious work, simply because 

* Another species, Cladophora pellucida, is shown at 
Plate I. fig. 3. 


the eye is not accustomed to notice those minute 
details on which the whole science depends. Unless 
trained in this careful manner, the eye is sure to 
miss little points which speak volumes to the ex- 
perienced naturalist, but which a novice can hardly 
see at all, and, if he does see, cannot understand. 
In a few days the improvement will be perceptible, 
even to the observer himself, and he will find that 
he is taking notice of minutise which before would 
have escaped observation, and which, although 
they appeared trifling, are as valuable to him as 
a nibbled grass-blade, or a leaf turned the wrong 
way, to an Indian tracker. 

The Cladophora is just one of those very objects 
that well repay a close examination. You will 
neither have time for useful examination while 
still wading, nor will you be able to stoop for so 
lengthened a period as would be required. Look 
out for a good thick bunch of the Cladophora, pull 
it up gently at the root, and transfer it to a pail or 
similar vessel. Do so until the pail is full, and 
postpone the examination until you reach home. 
There have a large empty basin, and a plentiful 
supply of sea-water. 

Pour a quart or so of water into the basin; pick 
off a small tuft of the Cladophora, and put it into 
the water. Although it clings so tightly together 
while in the air, no sooner does the alga find itself 
in water, than it spreads itself out, and all the 
little branchlets are supported by the liquid. Now, 
shake each tuft in the water, and separate the 
fibres, and you will be tolerably sure to find among 
the green foliage some of the smaller animals which 
inhabit the ocean, star-fishes and Crustacea of dif- 
ferent kinds being the most plentiful. 

The last of the seaweeds that will be mentioned 
is the Bryopsis plumosa (Plate I, fig. 6), a singu- 

c 2 


larly elegant little species, for which I very much 
regret there is no popular name. Its colour is 
very light green, and, when growing, it has the 
appearance of green feathers set on slender stalks. 
Being an annual plant, it can only be found during 
certain seasons of the year, such as summer and 
autumn. In proportion to its size, it has a large 
amount of gelatinous substance, and adheres well 
k> paper. 

FISHES. 2 1 



HAVING- placed the seaweed in an aquarium, 
the next step is to stock it with living inhabi- 
tants. Of the dwellers in the sea, the fish take 
the first place, and will therefore be mentioned 

The number of species found on our coasts is so 
great that only a very few can be mentioned in 
these pages. As the size of some of these unfits 
them for residence in the limited space aiforded 
by an aquarium, I shall therefore only mention a 
few of those which have actually been kept in an 
aquarium, and which have some peculiarity that is 
worthy of notice. 

Perhaps the reader may ask how the fish in 
question are to be caught, inasmuch as the sea is 
rather a wide place, and means of capture are 

It is evident that the hook is not a de- 
sirable instrument, and that it must therefore 
be laid aside whenever the fish are Avanted in a 
perfect state. The net, in one or other of its 
forms, is the only implement that is really ser- 
viceable ; and this must be modified according to 
the localitjr, and the particular fish which is to be 
captured. Some species, for example, are seldom, 
if ever, seen in deep water, preferring to hang 
about the rocky shores, to ferquenfc the sandy 
coasts, or to haunt those spots where the zostera 


waves its long narrow blades, like a submarine 
hayfield just ready to be mown. 

Some, on the contrary, never trust themselves to 
the shallow water, and are only to be captured at 
a depth of many fathoms. Most of these, how- 
ever, may be found within a mile or so of the 
shore, according to the slope of the sea-bed, the 
consequent depth of the water, and the particular 
sorts of seaweed which grow in the locality, and 
which furnish retirement to the marine animals 
on which they feed. 

Of all the varieties of nets, those which are most 
useful for the owner of an aquarium are the hand- 
net, the trawl, the dredge, and the keer-di'ag. The 
first of these nets is really very useful, and will 
enable a skilful handler to capture many kinds of 
little fishes that are left in the rock-pools when the 
tide has receded : gobies, gunnells, pipe-fish, and 
the like, being the usual inhabitants of such pools. 
The ti*awl, in places where it can be used, is simply 
invaluable, as it sweeps into its treacherous mouth 
all kinds of animals, including many species of fish, 
and creates a positive embarrassment of riches to 
the trawler. The dredge, though it is mostly em- 
ployed in procuring molluscs and Crustacea, is 
extremely useful in the capture df fishes, which, in 
spite of its small size, are frequently found in it. 
The keer-drag is a modification of the dredge, bat 
has a very long net, with an arrangement which 
allows the fish to enter, but prevents them from 

As to small flat-fish, such as dabs, flounders, &c, 
nothing is better than the common shrimp-net. 
If the reader does not object to getting wet, he 
cannot do better than walk through the sea with 
a shrimp-catcher, and give him some remuneration 
for taking a choice of the contents of his net. It 


is useless to ask him to take tlie shrimps and 
prawns, and put all the other creatures in a sepa- 
rate net. He will not do it. He has such an 
invetei-ate habit of throwing away everything that 
is neither a shrimp nor a prawn, that he mechani- 
cally empties into the sea the very creatures which 
are most required. In most cases, he does not 
recognize a vast number of animals to be animals 
at all, but classes them with seaweed and stones, 
and other "rubbish." 

The first fish in our list is the common Basse 
(Labrax Lupus), which is closely allied to the 
fresh-water perch, and Avhich, in fact, looks very 
like an ordinary perch that has contrived to escape 
from the river into the sea. On some of our coasts 
the Basse is called the Sea Dace. As, moreover, 
this fish is somewhat tolerant of fresh, or, at all 
events, of brackish water, the two species might 
easily be confounded together. It has even been 
transferred from the sea to an inland lake, and 
has been rather improved than deteriorated by 
the change. This hardiness of nature causes it 
to be an admirable tenant of an aquarium, where 
the daily conditions of life are so unlike those to 
which the inmates are accustomed when in the 
enjoyment of freedom. 

It is essentially a shore fish, finding all its foo<t 
within a very short distance of the land, and being 
nearly as bold as its fiuviatile relative. It is par- 
ticularly fond of the Onisci, or Sea-slaters ; and 
when the wind is high, and the waves are dashing 
on the shore, the Basse ventures quite close to the 
rocks, for the purpose of picking up the unfortu- 
nate slaters, as they are washed out of the crevices 
in which they hide themselves by day. The Basse 
may be caught like the Perch with a rod and line, 


and bites most freely during the last portion of the 

A long jetty like that of Margate is a good spot 
wherein to angle for the Basse as well as for other 
shore-loving fish ; they seeming to be attracted by 
the smaller marine animals that haunt the piles on 
which the structure is supported, or by the debris 
that is usually thrown in the water. Sometimes it is 
taken with a very simple kind of net, resembling a 
seine on a very small scale. This net is taken in 
the water by two men, who wade as far as they can, 
and then separate, each taking an end of the not. 
When they have stretched it, they walk slowly 
ashore, bringing with them the fish entangled in 
the net. Smelts are taken in the same manner in 
the Medway and other localities which they favour 
with their presence. 

The colour of the Basse is dark-blue above, and 
silver-white below. The dark bars which are so 
conspicuoiis on the Perch are but faint in the 
Basse, and the fins lack the bright scarlet which 
distinguishes those of the Perch. The body is not 
so deep in proportion to its length as that of the 
Perch, and the gill-cover is armed with two pointed 
projections, directed towards the tail. In an aqua- 
rium it is a brisk and lively fish, and small speci- 
mens ought to be selected. 

Next comes the wide-headed, angular, armour- 
clad fish, the Pogge (Aspidophorus Europeans). 
This little fish has a great variety of names, as 
is likely to be the case on account of its extra- 
ordinary appearance and its prevalence on our 
coasts. In some places it is called the Lyrie, in 
others the Sea-poacher, in others the Armed Bull- 
head, in others the Pluck, and in the North it ^oes 
by the name of Noble. 

Viere it only for the singularity'of its aspect, the 


Pogge is a worthy inhabitant of an aquarium. I 
never kept it myself, but Mr. Hillier tells me that 
lie has kept specimens for a considerable time in 
his aquarium, which is of moderate dimensions — 
three feet long by eighteen inches wide and fifteen 
deep. It is one of the fishes that can be obtained 
by accompanying a shrimper, as it is frequently 
taken in the net together with the shrimps and 
prawns, and invariably thrown back into the sea. 

It is impossible to mistake the Pogge for any 
other fish, as it is at once known by the vast 
number of projecting points with which the body 
is covered. It has sharp points to the dorsal fin, 
the head is all angular and pointed, and eight rows 
of pointed tubercles or scaly plates run along the 
body, covering it with a suit of plate armour, and 
giving it an octagonal shape. The colour of this 
odd little fish is brown above, with four broad 
dark-brown bands ; the under part is very white, 
and the large fan-like pectoral fins have a brown 
bar across the middle. 

One of the most easily kept of sea-fishes is the 
common Grey Mullet (Mugil capito). This fish is 
very plentiful on our coasts, and can be taken 
without difficrdty. Like the Basse, it is equally 
capable of inhabiting fresh and salt water, and is 
in the habit of ascending rivers in search of food. 
It can then be captured with a fly, and gives good 
sport, as it is an active and even intelligent fish, 
accustomed to freedom, and not being able to 
endure the idea of captivity. 

If the Grey Mullet be placed in an aquarium, 
the owner must take care that a cover be placed 
on the top, or the fish will assuredly leap out of 
the vessel and be lost. Mr. Couch states that the 
fish is so impatient of confinement, that even when 


mullets have been imprisoned in a large pool of 
twenty acres in extent, they have been known to 
leap fairly on the bank, in their endeavours to re- 
gain the open sea. If caught in a net, the Mullet 
is sure to use every method of escaping, and gene- 
rally prefers to leap over the top of the net before 
it becomes entangled in .the meshes. If one suc- 
ceeds, the rest are sure to follow, like a flock of 
sheep leaping over a hedge ; and unless the net 
can be raised at once, the whole of the inmates 
will escape. 

Naturally the Grey Mullet has a liking for 
brackish water, and during the earlier portion of 
its life hangs about the mouths of rivers. Some- 
times it has been known, even when full-grown, to 
penetrate full twenty miles inland. I believe, 
however, that it always returns seaward with the 
tide. Some time ago, the same gentleman who 
experimented upon the Basse, transferred a quan- 
tity of young mullets to the pond, and found that 
they throve well, grew rapidly, and were heavier 
in proportion to their length than those taken out 
of the sea. 

There is a very common little fish, very eel-like 
in form, and which is often mistaken for an eel, as 
it goes undulating thraigh the water. This is the 
Spotted Gunnell {Gwnnellus vulgaris), sometimes 
called the Butter-fish, on account of the slippery 
secretion with which its body is covered. It may 
be found in the rock-pools after the tide has re- 
ceded, and is not very easy to catch, as it has a 
way of darting into crevices which scarcely seem 
able to hold a fish of half its size. The net cannot 
reach it in these hiding-places, and if it be grasped 
in the hand, which is not often the case, owing to 


its agility, it slips through the fingers just as the 
well-oiled thief of India eludes the grasp of the 
pursuer. I have often amused myself and some 
friends by finding a gunnell in a rock -pool and 
trying to capture it with the hands alone. The 
chase was always a long one, and it was very 
amusing to see the agile creature wriggle its way 
from one hiding-place to another, and then, even 
when caught in the hand, slip quietly through the 
fingers, and leave its captor to begin the chase 

The colour of this odd little fish is rather va- 
riable, b\rfc is always brown of some kind, more or 
less dappled. The name of Spotted Gunnell is 
derived from a row of black spots edged in front 
and behind with white, which are placed along the 
base of the dorsal fin. This fin is very narrow,, 
and extends along the whole of the back. The 
scales are extremely small, and on account of the 
mucous secretion which covers them, are scarcely 
visible unless very carefully searched for. It is a 
very hardy species, and can endure a long absence 
from the water, if it be laid on damp seaweed. Its 
average length is six inches. 

The Blennies and the Gobies all belong to the 
same family as the Gunnell, and are even better 
adapted for the aquarium. Montagu's Blenny 
(Blemiius Montagui) is, according to Mr. Hillier's 
experiments, the very best of all fishes for the 
aquarium. It may be found in rock -pools like the 
Gunnell, and can easily be captured by means of a 
hand-net and a stick, the latter being xised for the 
purpose of driving the little fish from its hiding- 
place, and directing it towards the mouth of the 
net. It is a prettily-coloured fish, dai-k green 


above, with pale blue spots, and white below. 
The broad pectoral fins are spotted with orange. 

The Gobies are easily caught and easily kept, 
and of these I have selected the Black Goby 
(Gobius niger) for this paper. The chief pecu- 
liarity of the Gobies lies in the manner in which 
their ventral fins are united at their edges, so as 
to form a slightly hollowed disc. This disc is in 
form very much like a boy's sucker, and is used for 
the same purpose. A similar structure is seen in 
the common Lump-sucker, only in this fish the pec- 
toral fins are also merged into the sucker, and the 
adhesive power is so great that it has been 
known to raise a weight of sixteen or eighteen 

In the aquarium, the Gobies will mostly exhibit 
the powers of the sucker, darting about with great 
velocity, and sticking suddenly upon a stone, as if 
arrested by some external power. I do not re- 
member seeing them adhere to the glass sides of 
my aquarium, though they probably might have 
done so had there been no smooth stones. After 
a little while the Gobies will become quite recon- 
ciled to their lot. At first, they are extremely 
nervous, darting wildly about at the least move- 
ment, and reminding the observer of the frantic 
struggles of newly-caught sparrows. But in a few 
days they become accustomed to captivity, and, if 
properly managed, will come to the surface of the 
water and take food almost out of the fingers. A 
slight paddling in the water with the end of the 
finger suffices to attract them. 

Although small, and possessing teeth of propor- 
tionate size to their bodies, they are exceedingly 
voracious, and, if they were as large, would pro- 
bably be as destructive as the iron-jawed Wolf-fish 


which belongs to the same family. The Goby is 
very active in pouncing upon prey, whether living 
or dead; and when it has seized the coveted object, 
it returns to some neighbouring hiding-place, and 
there eats it if dead, or carries out the struggle if 
living. The reader will remember that the Pike 
has a similar habit, and so have many other pre- 
daceous fish. It is but a little fish, averaging four 
inches in length. As its name imports, it is of 
very dark colour, except in a portion of the under 
surface, which is whitish-grey. Like the Gunnell, 
it is covered with a mucous secretion, which renders 
it exceedingly slippery to the touch. 

There are one or two curious little fishes in- 
habiting the waters of the English coast, which are 
sometimes called Dragonets, and sometimes Skul- 
pins. They are peculiar in appearance, and cannot 
be mistaken for other fish. The most curious of 
them, the Yellow Skulpin, or Gemmeous Dragonet 
(Callionymus Lyra), is notable for the enormous 
length of the first dorsal ray, which, when the fish 
is full-grown, reaches as far as the tail, and sweeps 
over the back in a bold curve. It is a very bril- 
liantly-coloured fish, the general hue being bright 
yellow, with spots and stripes of blue on the head 
and sides, and white on the under surface. In 
allusion to the peculiar hue, the Scotch fishermen 
call it the Gowdie. 

This beautiful creature is, however, the adult 
male, and is not very plentiful ; but the females 
and immature males ai*e much more common, and 
not nearly so richly decked. These creatures are 
called Common Skulpins, and are sometimes termed 
Sordid Dragonets or Foxes ; the former of theeo 
names alluding to the comparatively dingy hues. 


and the latter to the reddish-brown colour of the 
back, which is of very similar line to the fox's 
coat. These fishes were long thought to be sepa- 
rate species, and were known by separate scien- 
tific names j but Dr. Gunther, of the British 
Museum, has satisfactorily settled the question of 
their identity. 



fishes — continued. 

DR. GTJNTHER very well observes," that no 
female with an elongated spine and yellow 
covering has ever been discovered, and that the 
slight variation in the habits of the Gemmeous 
and Sordid Dragonets is caused, not by any 
distinction of species, but by difference of age. 
The mature fish is quick in its habits, and lihes 
moderately deep water, while the immature speci- 
mens are brisk, active, and lively, darting off at 
any passing object which they may think suitable 
for food, and then returning to their resting-place, 
just like fly-catchers pursuing their prey. 

The Dragonets are mostly captured in trawl nets, 
and are frequently taken by shrimpers, though the 
capture of an adult male in a shrimp-net would be 
rather a rare occurrence. If the reader can secure 
a good specimen, let him make much of it, and not 
fail to preserve it when it succumbs to the fate that 
at one time or another befalls all inhabitants of an 

There is a small group of fishes which are called, 
from their structure, Pipe, or Bill Fishes. They 
are among the oddest of the finny race, and are 
well worth a careful examination. Fortunately, 
they are very plentiful, so that there is no difficulty 
in obtaining specimens for investigation. 

In this group there exist so many peculiarities 


that it is difficult to describe them in their proper 
order. "We will, however, begin with the structure 
from which they derive their name. They are 
among fish what the Snipe and Woodcock are to 
birds, their jaws being greatly lengthened and at- 
tenuated. But they differ from the Snipe in the 
fact that the jaws are united throughout their 
whole length, and have but a very sm 11 mouth 
at the extremity. This structure of the jaws and 
mouth is almost exactly simila,r to that which is 
found in the Echidna, or Spiny Anteater, of Aus- 
tralia, and it is impossible to compare the two 
creatures together without seeing that the same 
principle has been carried out in a denizen of the 
land and a dweller in the water. 

The gills of the Pipe-fish are not in the least 
like those of the fishes which have been already 
described, and which are familiar to us by means 
of the fishmongers' shops. Instead of the scarlet 
fringes which deck the branchial arches, the Pipe 
Fishes have a number of little round tufts set 
closely together. 

The body is long and snake-like, and in one 
species, which is scarce, and not likely to be taken 
near the shore, the body is not thicker than a goose 
quill, though a foot or fourteen inches in length, 
and tapers away almost to nothing at the tail. The 
end of the tail is prehensile, and is used exactly as 
are the tails of the various prehensile mammalia 
which inhabit trees, and use their tails as a means 
whereby they can suspend themselves from the 
branches, or more firmly maintain their position, 
whereas the Pipe-fishes use them in order to grasp 
the seaweed and anchor themselves in safety while 
the restless tide is passing by them. 

Pipe-fishes are very interesting inhabitants of 
an aquarium. They are restless, inquisitive beings 


poking their long snouts into every crevice, and 
assuming the most extraordinary attitudes. Some- 
times four or five of them will be seen quite per- 
pendicular in the water, all having their tails 
twisted round the same object, and all holding 
their odd little mouths close to the surface, as if 
to capture any small insect that might be unfor- 
tunate enough to fall into the water. Sometimes 
they will assume a perpendicular attitude, but in 
just the opposite direction, their tails being near 
the surface and their mouths at the bottom of the 

These curious positions are maintained by means 
•of the dorsal fin, i.e. that fin which runs along a 
portion of the back, and which is in itself a really 
wonderful piece of mechanism. Practically, it is 
a screw propeller, which undulates instead of re- 
volving, and which causes the fish to advance or 
recede in precisely the same manner as the undu- 
lations of a snake in the water enable it to swim. 
If any of my readers are experienced in boating, 
they will understand this movement better by 
comparing it with the familiar method of pro- 
pelling a boat by working backwards and forwards 
an oar passed over the stern. Even the rudder 
of a boat will act as a screw propeller, if worked 
steadily backwards and forwards. 

The undulations of the dorsal fin are so rapid 
that a somewhat quick eye is needed to discern 
them, or even to see the fin at all, which seems to 
disappear like magic, and which can only be de- 
tected by the reflection of light from the successive 
waves that ripple over the fin. The fin itself is 
exceedingly thin and delicate, and when the fish is 
taken out of the water the fin collapses so com- 
pletely that it is scarcely recognisabel. 

Another of the oddities of the Pipe-fish is the 



method by which its body is protected. Instead 
of being covered with scales, as is the case with 
the generality of fishes, it is armed with a number 
of hard flat plates, rather variable in number, ac- 
cording to the particular species. The reader will 
remember that a somewhat similar armature is 
found in the Sticklebacks. 

But by far the most curious portion of the Pipe- 
fish's economy is the pouch in which the eggs are 
hatched, and in which the young are sheltered for 
some time after they have left the egg. We are 
familiar with a terrestrial example in the kangaroo, 
and all the marsupial tribe, and would naturally 
expect that certain inhabitants of the waters might 
be furnished with a similar apparatus. In the Pipe- 
fish, however, the pouch belongs, not to the female, 
but to the male fish, and, in consequence, was the 
cause of sore perplexity to those who first investi- 
gated it. The pouch is composed of two long flaps 
of skin, which run from the tail along the under 
side of the body, and are several inches in length. 
Between these flaps the eggs are deposited. There 
they are preserved from the merciless jaws of other 
fish, until they are large enough to encounter with 
safety the dangers of the seas. 

Mr. Yarrell mentions that the fishermen told 
him of a curious fact with regard to the Pipe-fish. 
If they take a Pipe-fish, open the pouch, and 
shake the young into the sea, the little creatures 
do not swim away, but hover about the spot, as if 
waiting for their parent. Then, if they hold the 
fish in the water, the young will swim to it, and 
immediately re-enter the pouch. Some young that 
were found in the pouch of a male fish by the 
above-mentioned author measured rather more 
than an inch in length. 

As to the large tribe of flat fish, such as 


Flounders, Dabs, Plaice, &c, they can always be 
taken in plenty off the shore. Some of them 
ascend rivers for a considerable distance. The 
very finest sole I ever saw was caught by myself 
while trawling in the Medway, just off Gilling- 
ham ; and I have captured, with a common hand- 
net, plenty of flounders in the Thames above 

There is a rather amusing mode of catching 
young flounders. Find a shore where sand is 
mixed with a little mud, and walk into it with 
bare feet. The little flat fishes dash about in great 
terror, and their white bellies glisten as they dart 
through the water with a speed which few would 
attribute to them. Presently one of them will be 
felt wriggling about under the foot. Hold it down 
firmly, slip the hand cautiously under foot and fish 
together, and the capture is certain. 

No one who has not seen the flat fish swimming 
can conceive the wonderful grace of their move- 
ments. When we look at a plaice or a flounder 
in a shop window, we think it is about as ungrace- 
ful a creature as can well be imagined. And this 
feeling is not lessened even when we see the living 
fish in an aquarium, perched, so to speak, on a 
stone, and with half-raised head keenly watching 
every object within sight. It has a most uncanny 
look, and appears as if it were cowering and brood- 
ing over some concealed treasure. But when it 
leaves its perch and begins to swim, it is trans- 
formed into one of the most elegant and graceful 
creatures that can be seen. Instead of merely 
propelling itself by the movement of the tail, the 
whole body undulates in a series of curves, the 
dark brown of the one side and the silvery white 
of the other contrasting beautifully as the fish 
writhes its graceful way through the water. 
j> 2 




THE first of the molluscs which will be men- 
tioned, is that singular creature which is re- 
presented in Plate III. fig. 4. This is one of the 
Squids, a group of molluscs belonging to the family 
of Cuttle-fishes. 

This particular species is common enough on our 
shores, and may be procured either by taking it 
in a net, or by hatching it from the egg-clusters 
which are thrown on the shore at the beginning of 
summer. The attention of the reader is particu- 
larly drawn to these points, — namely, the " siphon," 
and the eyes. The siphon is the tube by means of 
which respiration is carried on, and by which the 
animal ejects the water which has passed into the 
respiratory system. It is entirely by means of the 
siphon that the animal projects itself through the 
water, and this operation is well worthy of obser- 

If the water should happen to be very clear, the 
little creature is seen shooting along without any 
apparent means of propulsion; but if the water be 
turbid, or if any fragment of seaweed be suspended 
in it, the mode of progression is easily seen. When 
the Squid desires to remain in one spot, the water 
is suffered to flow gently from the tube ; but if it 
wishes to propel itself rapidly, it ejects the water 
with great violence, and so forces itself along in an 
opposite direction. 


Ignorant of this fact, the old naturalists had an 
idea that the Nautilus, which is a species of Cuttle, 
used natural sails and oars, whereas the fact is, that 
the Nautilus simply projects itself by forcing water 
out of the funnel. Its curious arms are used, not 
as oars, but as legs, which are quite capable of sup- 
porting the body and shell while in the water. 

The present species is a lively little creature, and 
can be kept for some time in an aquarium, where 
its active habit and inquisitive disposition always 
attract admiration. The animal is represented of 
the natural size. 

The suckers on the arms ought to be well ex- 
amined, because they are marvellous examples of 
natural air-pumps. Each sucker is composed of a 
fleshy cup, with a sort of piston of the same mate- 
rial. When the edges of the cups are pressed 
firmly upon any flat substance, and the piston 
forcibly drawn upwards, the air is extracted, a 
partial vacuum is formed, and strong adhesion con- 
sequently takes place. The "pneumatic" pegs 
which are now so common, and which are used 
for hanging objects to shop-windows, flat walls, 
and the like, are almost exact copies of the sucker 
of the Cuttle. 

The eye is chiefly notable on account of its 
peculiar structure, which is almost exactly that of 
the Coddington lens, namely, a transparent sphere 
with a deep conical groove running round it, and 
thus producing almost perfect achromatism. 

"We now come to those interesting molluscs, the 
ISTudibranchs, of which a few are given on Plate III. 
They derive their name of Nudibranchs, or Naked- 
gilled molluscs, from the fact that their gills or 
branchial organs are not placed within the body, 
but are external and in direct communication with 


the water. These curious gills are either arranged 
along the sides or on the back, and in our first ex- 
amples they are placed along the sides. At fig. 17 
is shown a very singular species, — Doto fragilis, 
the latter name being given it because the project- 
ing gills are apt to fall off at a touch. Its general 
colour is olive or yellow, and its length about an 
inch. The branchial organs are from six to nine 
in number, and look something like pine-apples or 
fir-cones, each being surrounded with rows 01 pro- 
jections termed papillae, which are arranged in 
regular whorls. 

Another species of this genus, Doto coronata, is 
still more beautiful, the yellow of the body being 
spotted with crimson, and each of the papillse 
having a scarlet dot at its tip. 

Both of them have the tentacles placed in deep 
trumpet-like sheaths. 

The equally curious creature at fig. 9 is called 
Scyllcea pelagica, the latter title being derived from 
its oceanic habits. Instead of living at the bottom 
of the sea, adhering to the growing algse, or crawl- 
ing on the rocks, as is the case with most of the 
Nudibranchs, this species traverses the sea at ran- 
dom, living on floating seaweed, and driven about 
just where the winds and waves may take it. The 
tentacles of this species are placed in sheaths like 
those of the last-mentioned animals ; but the 
branchiae are borne on four large club-like lobes, 
which arise from either side of the back. It clings 
very tightly to the weeds on which it lives, clasping 
its flattened disc firmly round the stems. 

The animal which is called Eolis papillosa (Plate 
III. fig. 1 3), is a very fine species of British Nudi- 
branch, being sometimes nearly three inches in 
length. Its general appearance may be seen by 
reference to the illustration, which exhibits the 


mouth, upper surface, and tlie very numerous 
bronchise, which are ranged in regular rov/s along 
the sides of its back. This creature is rather 
variable in colour, but is generally olive, pinkish, 
or brown, though a yellow specimen is occasionally 
seen. It may be found just below the water-mark, 
and therefore is to be procured without much diffi- 

At fig. 5, in the same plate, may be seen a 
singularly beautiful species, called, on account of 
its scarlet colour, Doris coccinea. The figure is 
enlarged in order to show more perfectly the 
circular tuft of gill -plumes in the back, and the 
odd-looking tentacles, which can be drawn into 
sockets and rendered almost invisible. The gills 
plumes are ten in number. The colour of the 
species is scarlet, speekled with black. There are 
many British species of this genus, all remark- 
able for the extreme beauty of their colouring, 
though in quaintness of form they yield to many 
others of the same great group. 

In the Goniodoris nodosa (Plate III. fig. 8), both 
the tentacles and the gill-tufts are much larger than 
in the preceding animal, and the tentacles cannot 
be retracted. This species is common on our shores, 
and may be found without difficulty j ust below low- 
water mark. 

Common as it may be, it may easily be passed 
over unheeded unless the observer knows exactly 
where it is to be looked for ; and the same may 
be said of all Nudibranchs. If a large bunch of 
seaweed be carefully taken out of the water, there 
will be found upon it certain little objects looking 
like lumps of jelly — brown, olive, pink, and yel- 
lowish — but without any determinate shape. These 
are certain to be Nudibranchs, and should be care- 
fully removed and placed in water, where they will 


soon begin to expand their gill-tufts, and to appear 
in all their real beauty. 

The colour of this species is changeable, being 
"white, yellow, or pinkish, with chalk -white spots. 
There are thirteen plumes to the gills, arranged 
in a circle, as in the various species of Doris. Its 
length is about one inch. We now leave the 
Nudibranchs and come to another group of the 

On all our shores there is a pretty shell popu- 
larly known as the Dog Winkle, 
and technically as Purpura La- 
piUus, which is always an inter- 
esting inhabitant of an aquarium, 
and as it is very hardy, may be 
kept even by a novice in the 
management of an aquarium. 
But any one who keeps this pretty 
creature must remember that it is 
as destructive as it is beautiful, 
and that it will devour almost 
Purpura Lapiltws. any other mollusc that it can 
find. This it does by -way of its long, rasp-like 
tongue-ribbon, with which it scrapes out the un- 
fortunate inhabitant piecemeal 
after perforating the shell. If 
it finds a periwinkle or similar 
mollusc, it does not take the 
trouble to bore the shell, but 
passes its tongue into the aper- 
ture. But when it feeds upon 
a mussel or other bivalve, which 
closes its shell when attacked, it 

is forced to perforate its shell be- 
Egg.flasks of Purpura. fore ft can get at the eontentSi 

The eggs of the Purpura are curious little flask- 
shaped objects of a yellowish-brown colour, which 


may be seen on the shore in great numbers attached 
by footstalks either to stones, shells, or even to each 
other. Each of the flasks contains several young, 
which are hatched within them, and which remain 
in their protecting envelopes until they are able to 
shift for themselves. 

This is one of the most variable of shells, some- 
times uniformly brown, white, or yellowish ; but 
mostly banded with some other hue. 

The name of Purpura is derived from the fact 
that a deep purple dye can be obtained from a 
small sac behind the head. The sac is filled with 
a dark green fluid, which, by exposure to the air, 
becomes purple-red. The Purpura is supposed to 
be the mollusc from which the ancients obtained 
their celebrated purple dye which was only used 
for the vestments of kings. 

As to the common "Whelk, 
which may be found in 
large quantities along our 
shores, little need be said of 
it, except that the aquarium- 
keeper will be pleased at 
hatching the young from the 
egg-clusters which may be 
found on the shore at the 
beginning of summer. These 
clusters are easily recognized, 
and only need to be placed in e g3S ' 

sea-water for the young to be produced. 

At fig. 6, Plate III., we have an example of the 
Staircase, or Wentletrapshells, the present species 
being a very common one. All the species are 
notable for the bold ridges which ornament them, 
and for the long spindle-shape of the shells. 

Although common on our southern coasts, it is 
seldom found to the east or northwards ; and when 


it is captured with the animal in a living state, it 
is well worthy of observation in an aquarium. 

The pretty Top-shells are very plentiful along 
our shores, and can be picked by hand from the 
brown algse as they lie uncovered at low water. 


One of our largest, and certainly not the least 
pretty species, is that which is shown in the 
accompanying illustration, and which is called 
Trochus ziziphinus. It is rather variable in co- 
louring, but is generally adorned with dots and 
flame-like markings upon its surface. "When the 
outer coating is removed, an inner pearly coat is 
seen ; and in some foreign species this pearly coat 
is so beautiful, that the shells are polished and 
made up into necklaces, bracelets, and other orna- 
ments. "When the empty shell is found on the 
shore, the apex is generally much rubbed, so as 
to show the shining pearl beneath. 

Another species, Trochus cinerarius, is shown 
at fig. 3, Plate III., and is perhaps the most 
common of all the numerous British species. It 
may be known by its rather natter shape, the grey 
markings, and the narrow perforation through its 
axis. There is but little gloss on the shell; and 
in the arrangement of the markings there is con- 
siderable variation. 




THE common Periwinkle (Plate III. fig. 2) can 
always be procured in plenty on any of our 
coasts where the brown algse are found. This 
mollusc is especially iiseful if the aquarium should 
happen to be a glass one, as it feeds upon the 
young, fresh growth of algse, which is apt to settle 
upon the glass and conceal every object behind it. 
With its long tongue-ribbon it removes the young 
algae, proceeding as regularly as a mower with his 
scythe, and keeps the glass clean without giving 
any trouble to the owner. The reader is particulaly 
advised to take out the tongue ribbons of all the 
molluscs that happen to die, spread them on glass 
and place them under the microscope, for the 
purpose of observing the beautiful manner in 
which the teeth are arranged. 

Limpets can always go into an aquarium, and 
the observer should always place them where they 
can crawl on glass, so as to show the beautiful 
mechanism by which they adhere. The same, 
indeed, is the case with most of the imivalves. 
The common Limpet can be procured in any 
number ; but as it is so familiar, another species 
has been chosen for the figures. This is the 
Smooth Limpet, Patella pellucida (Plate III. 
fig. 1). This very beautiful and variable species 
has the shell almost as transparent as if made of 
horn and adorned with different colours, such as 


ultramarine blue, chocolate, yellow, and red. It 
is to be found among the large Tangle-weeds ; and, 
although not so common as the ordinary species, 
can generally be found by dragging up large tufts 
of algse and examining them carefully. 

At fig. 7 is shown an example of the Mail-shells 
{Chiton marginatus), so called because their shells 
are composed of several plates like ancient mail 
armour. These plates are not firmly fixed to each 
other, but have plenty of play in them, and yield 
to each movement of the animal. Chitons can 
always be found on the rocks, and their very 
remarkable structure renders them interesting 
inhabitants of an aquarium. There are many 
British species. 

The other figures in the illustration represent a 
few species of the curious beings called Molluscoids, 
which belong, though with a rather r-emote rela- 
tionship, to the Molluscs. Many of them were 
formerly thought to be seaweeds ; while, until a 
comparatively late period, they were classed among 
the zoophytes. Fig. 14, Plate III., represents the 
Sea-mat (Flustra foliacea), sometimes called the 
Lemon-weed, on account of its peculiar odour. 
Tig. 10 shows the Gemellaria loricata ; 11, the 
Scrupocellaria scruposa ; and 12, the Bugula 
avicularia ; — this last being notable as affording 
admirable specimens of the " bird's head " process 
when viewed under the microscope. This is, of 
course, a magnified portion. Fig. 15 represents 
the BiceMaria ciliata ; and 1 6 is a magnified por- 
tion of the same. When these are examined in 
a living state, they are singularly beautiful ; each 
cell being filled with a little inhabitant that spreads 
its arms in a manner so exactly resembling certain 
zoophytes, that no one need wonder that the two 
diverse groups of animals were confounded together. 

molluscs and crustacea. 45 


"We now come to the Crustacea, i.e. the Crabs, 
Lobsters, Shrimps, and their kin, many of which 
can be kept for a considerable time in an aqua- 

The most common of all our seaside Crustacea 
is the familiar Green Crab, Carcinus mcenas (Plate 
IV fig. 1), which may be taken in almost any 
number, either by the hand, the net, or the line. 

This Crab is not considered as eatable, though, 
in fact, it is nearly as good as the true edible Crab 
of our shores ; but the fact is that the meat is so 
small in proportion to the shell, that it hardly 
repays the trouble of catching and cooking. 

As its name implies, the predominant colour of 
this crab is green, though it is extremely variable, 
and is seen of various tints. Sometimes it is quite 
a deep brown ; sometimes the whole of the under 
surface is orange; while specimens are not at all 
uncommon in which the hue is yellow, with a 
black mark on the back. These are generally the 
small young specimens, while the darker hues 
belong chiefly to the largest and oldest specimens, 
some of which are brown, with just enough tinge 
of green to justify the popular name. 

These latter individuals are not at all adapted 
for the aquarium. They require much more space 
than can be afforded to them, and besides are so 
voracious that they would eat every other in- 
habitant, not excluding those of their own species. 
In fact, there is nothing that a large crab seems to 
like half so much as a little crab ; and even on the 
shore, crabs may be frequently seen pursuing one 
another with cannibalistic intentions, the little one 
only escaping by creeping into some hole which its 
larger relative cannot enter. 


They are very hardy animals, and can be con- 
veyed for considerable distances -with perfect se- 
curity. Should the reader be disposed to bring 
crabs from the seashore, he will find that the best 
mode of conveying them is simply to put them 
into a can, with a quantity of wet seaweed of any 
of the green varieties. If brought in water, they 
are apt to die ; but if merely packed up in wet 
seaweed, they may be kept for several days without 
touching the water. 

Continued immersion in the water of an aqua- 
rium is not good for a Green Crab, and the creature 
will be in better health if a few stones be piled up 
in the middle, so as to allow the crab to get out 
of the water without being able to escape. Even 
being occasionally removed from the water, and 
permitted to run about on the floor of the room, 
will be useful to this amphibious and active being. 

The voracity of the Green Crabs is almost in- 
credible, and their agility little less so. As to 
their performances in the water, little is known 
of them, except that they annoy anglers exceed- 
ingly by taking their baits, deluding them into the 
idea that a fish is on the hook, and obliging them 
to rebait the hook. But on land I have often 
watched them, and been much interested by their 

They can best be seen when the tide is flowing; 
and if any one will take the trouble to remain per- 
fectly motionless, he will see one method by which 
the Crabs obtain food. They are hardly recog- 
nizable, full of life and fire, darting here and there 
as they suspect the presence of prey, pursuing 
everything that seems to have life, anchoring 
themselves in the sand by their sharp feet, and 
inspecting every object as the tide passes by them. 
Even the agile Sandhoppers are chased and caught 


by the Crabs ; so are the Sandflies ; and I have seen 
them pounce on bees that came to drink the salt 
water, encage them within their legs, pick them 
out daintily with their claws, hold them in one 
claw, pull them to pieces with the other, and eat 

Therefore, if a Green Crab is to be kept, give 
him a house to himself, feed him liberally, and do 
not afford him the least chance of escape. A crab 
can climb wonderfully well, and our Green Crabs, 
although they cannot rival the great Ou-Ou Crabs 
of Samoa, which climb the cocoa-nut palms and 
throw down the fruit, will make their way out of 
vessels which were thought to be quite safe. They 
have a fashion of getting against the side of the 
vessel, scrambling up it as high as they can, hitch- 
ing the feet by one side over the edge, and then 
pulling themselves up. If a crab succeeds in 
putting the tip of a single leg over the top of the 
vessel, it is sure to make its escape. 

Should the reader like to catch some Green 
Crabs for himself, he can handle the oldest and 
fiercest of them without danger of being caught 
by their sharp nippers. These crabs are capital 
fighters, quick as a modern boxer in delivering a 
stroke, and grasping so forcibly with their sharply 
pointed claws that they occasion no little pain. 
But there is an infallible mode of capturing the 
creature without danger of a bite. When a crab 
is brought to bay, it sits upright, holding its claws 
extended so as to guard the whole of its body. 
Make a feint at it with the left hand, at which it 
will instantly strike with both claws, snapping 
them audibly as it does so. At the same moment, 
push it forward with the forefinger of the right 
hand, and press it firmly against the ground, while 
with the thumb and middle finger, the body is held 


tightly, just behind the claws. It is better to press 
the claws slightly towards each other, and when in 
this position the Crab is completely disarmed. 

Very soft specimens may be often found on the 
shore, mostly hiding under rocks and stones. They 
are perfectly helpless, and so feeble that if they 
are picked up hastily, one or two of their limbs 
will probably fall off. These are crabs which have 
just cast their shells, and which have not as yet 
been able to secrete a new one fitted for their 
enlarged bodies. They are obliged to hide them- 
selves, or they would certainly be eaten by their 
hard-shelled relatives. On some of our coasts 
these soft crabs are called "Peelarts," and are used 
as bait. 

At Plate IV fig. 2, may be seen a figure of 
another species, the Harper Crab or Sea Toad 
(Hyas araneus). As its latter name implies, this 
creature belongs to the group called Spider Crabs. 
All these crabs may be known by the shape of the 
body, which has a pointed snout. Owing to the 
shape of the body and the manner in which the 
limbs are set upon it, the Spider Crabs are not so 
active as the Green Crabs ; and, indeed, often have 
their bodies so thickly covered with zoophytes that 
the shell can scarcely be seen. Another allied 
species, the Thornback Crab (Maia squinado), is 
almost invariably covered with these parasites. 

The Harper Crab is held in great detestation by 
those salmon-fishers who use fixed engines. When 
the tide happens to ebb during the night, and the 
salmon are left high and dry, these crabs are sure 
to come and revel upon the dead fish, injuring 
their appearance and destroying much of their 
saleable value. It may generally be found about 
low-water mark, and is not so fond of scuttling 
over the sands as the Green Crab. 


One species of the Spider Crab, namely, the 
Slender-legged Crab (Stenorhynchus phalangium), is 
tolerably common on our coasts, and is found mostly 
where the bed of the sea is formed of sand and 
mud. A figure of this species is given at Plate 
IV., fig. 5. Mr. Hillier tells me that he has 
noticed a very curious habit on the part of this 
crab, specimens of which he has kept in his aqua- 
rium. After the crab had shed its shell, it was 
seen to take a quantity of seaweed and place it 
over its body, as if to guard itself in its soft and 
helpless condition. Perhaps this fact will account 
for the quantities of algse that are often seen grow- 
ing upon the backs of this and allied species. 

If the reader will look at the legs of the Green 
Crab, he will see that the last pair are flatter than 
the others, especially towards the last joint. This 
structure shows that the creature belongs to the 
Swimming Crabs, although in that species the feet 
are not sufficiently flattened to allow it to swim. 
Some exotic Swimming Crabs have these limbs as 
wide and flat as the paddles of a canoe, and by 
this means the creatures are propelled through the 
water as swiftly as the fishes themselves. 

We have several species in England in which 
the paddle-like feet are tolerably developed, al- 
though the limbs are not so wide or so flat as in 
the tropical species, and consequently their owners 
cannot swim nearly so fast. One of the best 
known of the British Swimming Crabs is the 
Velvet Fiddler (Portwrms puber), which may be 
easily recognized by the accompanying figure. 

It is called a " Fiddler " because in the act of 
swimming it works its hinder legs backwards and 
forwards with a quick movement, something like 
that of a Fiddler's arm. All the Swimming Crabs 
possess this movement, and are popularly called 



by the same title. The name of Velvet Fiddler 
is given to it because its body is covered with a 
thick coating of soft velvet-like hair. This, al- 

Velvet Fiddler. 

though not a large species, is a very handsome one, 
the claws and legs being striped with blue and 
scarlet, which contrast beautifully with the rich 
brown hue of the velvet-clad back. 

Like the Green Crab, this species is eatable, 
though not generally recognized as such, and in 
some places is considered as a great delicacy. It 
is sold for the table under the name of Lady Crab. 
These little crabs are apt to get into the lobster- 
pots in search of the bait which is placed there to 
attract more valuable Crustacea, and, as a general 
rule, they are flung away as worthless. 

In an aquarium, they are quite as interest- 
ing as the Green Crab, though not so gene- 
rally active, nor so obtrusively voracious. But 
although they greatly prefer quietude, keeping 
themselves closely under shelter, they are ready 


enough to come out when they see anything that 
looks eatable, and to do their best to eat it, whether 
it be alive or dead. Smaller crabs of any species 
are sure to fall victims to the Velvet Fiddler, while 
flesh of any kind is always acceptable to these vo- 
racious Crustacea. 

We now come to a series of crabs which are 
remarkable for their curious development. Instead 
of being covered with a hard shelly coat of mail, 
only the fore-parts are so defended ; and the ab- 
domen, which is long and projecting, is as soft as 
if the animal had only just shed its shell. In 
order to protect this soft abdomen, the crab inserts 
it into the shell of some univalve mollusc, and 
carries the shell about just as if it were the lawful 
owner of the usurped house. 

These animals are known by several names. On 
account of their solitary habits, each living in a 

Soldier, or Hermit, Crab, 

separate shell, they are sometimes called Hermit 

Crabs, while their singular aptitude for fighting 

has gained them the name of Soldier Crabs. The 

e 2 


most common of these is the ordinary Soldier 
Crab (Pagurus Bemhardus), which is represented 
in the accompanying illustration as it appears 
when inhabiting the shell of a whelk. The same 
animal is also shown at Plate TV fig. 8, as it 
appears when removed from the protecting shell. 

The reader will note that at the end of the 
abdomen there is a kind of double hook. This is 
the clasper by which the crab maintains its hold 
of the shell ; and so firmly does it grasp the shell, 
that it may be pulled to pieces before it will loosen 
its hold. The entomological reader will remember 
that the caddis-worm is furnished with a similar 

The claws are unequal in size, one being very 
much larger than the other. When the crab 
withdraws itself into its shell, the large claw 
effectually closes the entrance, and is doubly ef- 
fective, first as a door, and then as a weapon. 
With this large claw it seizes prey, as will soon 
be seen if any living creature should happen to 
come within its reach. When it has captured its 
prey, the large claw holds it, while the little claw 
picks it to pieces, and puts the fragments into the 

Although tlie animal and the shell are mostly 
well suited to each other, such is not always the 
case, and it is a remarkable fact that, however well 
the shell and the crab may seem to be suited to 
each other, the crab always thinks that a shell 
belonging to another crab would make a better 
house. Consequently they will wage direful battles 
over a few empty shells, although neither of the 
shells would make so commodious a habitation as 
that which was already occupied. 

If the reader is disposed to find a specimen or 



two of the Porcelain Crabs, lie can do so without 
much trouble. He should choose the time of ex- 
treme ebb tide, wade into the sea just about low- 
water mark, and turn over all the loose stones that 
he can find. Under these stones may often be 
found the Bkoad-claw Crab (Porcellana platy- 


cheles), a creature which might easily bs unnoticed 
because of its flat body, and the mode in which 
the limbs are packed so closely to the body that it 
looks at first more like a stone than a crab. 

There are many species of this group, and their 


popular name is given to them on account of the 
shining porcelain-like surface of the under side of 
the body. The name of Broad-claw is given to 
this species because its claws are very broad and 
very flat, so as to allow their owner to creep into 
a small crevice. They are also furnished with a 
beautiful brush-like apparatus, by means of which 
the animal sweeps the sea, and carries towards its 
mouth the minute particles of edible matter that 
would otherwise be wasted. 

An apparatus of this kind is an absolute neces- 
sity for the Broad-claw Crab, because it does not 
wander about in search for food, but remains 
quiescent in one spot. It is therefore gifted with 
a peculiar apparatus, by means of which it can 
obtain subsistence as the water flows past its place 
of residence. 

"We now come to the Long-tailed Crustaceans, 
of which the Lobsters, Prawns, and Shrimps are 
familiar examples. These creatures have a vast 
amount of muscular power thrown into their 
" tails," by means of which they can project 
themselves through the water with astonishing 
velocity. If the fan-like apparatus at the end of 
the body be examined, it will be found to consist 
of several shell plates, so arranged as to offer the 
greatest possible resistance to the water when 
drawn towards the head, and as little as possible 
in the other direction. So when a lobster wishes 
to dart off in a hurry, it simply contracts its body 
suddenly, and so drives itself backwards through 
the water with sueh a velocity that the eye can 
scarcely follow its course. Any one who has 
watched the shrimps and prawns disporting them- 
selves in the shore-pools will be familiar with the 



quick, darting movements of the little creatures. 
They crawl forwards by means of their legs, but 
they dart backwards by means of their tails. 

Two very familiar examples of these crustaceans 
have been selected, both of which are easily kept 
in an aquarium. The first is the common Shrimp 
(C rang on vulgaris), which may be obtained in 
multitudes on any sandy shore. 

The Shrimps may be easily caught either by 
hand or by net, the latter being the preferable 
mode, as they run less chance of being injured. 
The best method of obtaining good specimens, in 
perfect condition, is to waylay a shrimper and give 
him a few pence to allow you to make your choice 
of the contents of his net, which is a much more 
effective article than the ordinary hand-net A 
shrimp of the usual size is shown at Plate IV 
fig. 9. 

At fig. 7 of the same plate is a figure of one of 
our British Prawns, popularly called the White 
Shrimp (Falwmon squilla). 

The Prawns are always among the most beautiful 
inhabitants of an aquarium, their transparent bodies 

JEsop Prawn. 

painted with different colours, and their eyes glow- 
ing as if they were balls of phosphorus. The effect 
of a Prawn's eyes in an aquarium is often very 


remarkable, the only part of the creature that is 
visible being two little globes of fire moving 
steadily through the water. There are many 
species of British Prawns, among which the .ZEsop 
Prawn (Pandalus annulicornis) is among the most 
beautiful. This lovely little crustacean is called 
the .ZEsop Prawn because it has a hump on its 
back, and the name of annulicornis, or ring-horned, 
is given to it because its antenna?, or feelers, are 
ringed with scarlet at regular intervals. Its body 
is transparent grey, slightly tinged with green, and 
varied with scarlet lines. 

Figs. 3 and 4 are examples of those Crustacea 
which are called Sessile-eyed, because their eyes 
are placed directly on the head, and not set on 
footstalks. The first of these is the curious little 
creature called Corophium longicorne. It inhabits 
muddy shores, and lives in little holes, with which 
the mud is often perforated like a honeycomb. It 
is a voracious little being, and will eat marine 
worms, molluscs, and even the fry of fish, if they 
come in its way. By way of poetical justice, they 
are much eaten by gulls and other birds that come 
to feed at the edge of the sea. 

Pig. 4 represents Pennant's Skeleton Screw (Qa- 
prella linearis), a little crustacean that is notable 
for the odd attitudes which it, assumes. The Skele- 
ton Screws are chiefly found on the barnacles ot 
a well-known zoophyte, the Plumularia, among 
which they disport themselves more like monkeys 
than Crustacea. Their limbs being set at great dis- 
tances from each other upon their slender bodies, 
causes their movements to bear some resem- 
blance to those of the "looper" caterpillars, 
although they are much quicker and more 


The well-known Sand-hopper (Talitrus locusta), 

which, together Avith a 
closely-allied crustacean, 
the Shore-jumper (Or- 
chestria littorea), is to 
be found on all our 
Shore-jumper. shores where there is 

the least modicum of sand. Both these creatures 
are so similar in their forms that they may easily 
be mistaken for each other, while in habits they 
are identical. The chief distinction between them 
is that the latter species has the joints of the two 
first pairs of legs modified into claws, which is not 
the case with the Sandhopper. 

Both these creatures are to be seen skipping 
and hopping about the sand in great numbers, 
especially as the tide rises, when they emerge by 
myriads out of the sand into which they have 
burrowed. But if the wanderer by the seashore 
Avishes to see them in greatest numbers, he should 
choose a time when the tide is ebbing, and walk 
along the shore about half tide. The heaps of 
seaweed which are left by the retiring waters, and 
especially if there are corallines among them, lite- 
rally swarm with Sand-hoppers, which are under 
them, and in them, and round them, and piled 
on them in heaps, which rapidly dissolve Avith a 
hissing as the spectator approaches. Sometimes 
they are so numerous, and leap so perseveringly, 
that the continuous fall of their bodies on the 
sand resembles the pattering of a hail-shower. 

The last crustacean which we shall mention is 
the strange being called Phoxichilidium coccineum. 
It has no popular name. I took one of these 
creatures at Margate in a tuft of green alga, and 
kept it for some time, both at the seaside and in 
my own house. It Avas a strange-looking creature, 


never doing anything in particular, but continually 
sprawling about fatuously with its long, thread- 
like limbs. (Plate IV fig. 6.) 

One of the chief points of notice in this creature 
is that it is developed in a remarkable appendage 
to a zoophyte belonging to the genus Coryne. 
Tn a little ball-like growth, the Phoxichilidium is 
packed away, its long limbs being rolled round its 
body just as a ball of twine is wound up. It is 
not very common, but may be found by pulling up 
large tufts of seaweed, carrying them home, and 
examining them carefully in sea- water. 




WE now come to a series of creatures which 
apparently are not so interesting as those 
which we have already examined, because they do 
not possess the same amount of apparent life, nei- 
ther are their movements so easily understood. 
But they only need to be watched carefully, and 
they will then prove to be quite as interesting as 
the animals already described. 

We will begin with those which belong to the 
great class of Annulata, or the "Worm tribe, and 
take as our first example the Sea Mouse [Aphrodite 
aculeata), Plate V fig. 7. I need hardly remind 
my classical reader that Aphrodite was the Greek 
goddess of beauty, who sprung from the foam of 
the sea. The name has been given to the animals 
belonging to this genus of marine worms on account 
of their marvellous beauty. Most of the worms 
are furnished with hairs or bristles, generally very 
short, and not perceived except by careful eyes. 
The Aphrodite, however, has the sides of its body 
so thickly covered with hairs and bristles, that 
they overshadow its back and hide it from view. 

The beauty of these hairs is almost inconceivable. 
They are as magnificently coloured as the plumes 
that decorate the throat of the Humming Bird, 
and, unlike their feathers, change their colour with 
every movement. Every colour of the rainbow is 
reflected from these hairs ; and as each individual 


hair reflects a different colour, it may be imagined 
that the appearance of the animal is indeed beauti- 
ful. Why the creature should be endowed with 
such a gorgeous dress is not easy to see, because it 
lives where the light seldom penetrates, and where 
its beautiful clothing is all hidden. The chosen 
habitation of the Aphrodite is in the muddy bed 
of the sea, and, as if not satisfied with hiding its 
beauties in the black and foetid mud, it creeps 
beneath stones or shells, so as to be completely 
hidden from the light. 

Whatever may be its habits in the sea can only 
be conjectured from its dimensions in an aquarium, 
where it generally lies in the same spot, and appears 
to take no delight in moving. Herein it displays 
a great contrast to the generality of creatures which 
are distinguished for their beauty, and which seem 
to take the greatest delight in exhibiting their per- 
fections to the best advantage. 

Sluggish as it is, the Aphrodite is a dangerous 
creature for the aquarium, as it is exceedingly 
voracious, and will eat almost any other inhabitant 
that is not defended by a shell or hard armour. It 
does not even spai-e its own kind, and has been 
known to eat a companion in two days, in spite 
of the struggles of its unfortunate victim. The 
instrument which it uses in this predacious manner 
is a proboscis, which can be thrust out to a con- 
siderable distance. 

Should any of my readers procure a living 
Aphrodite, which may easily be done by means of 
the dredge, they are strongly advised to examine 
the structure of the breathing apparatus, which is 
almost if not unique in the animal kingdom. By 
pushing aside the hairs that cover the back, a 
number of flaps will be seen, which rise and fall 
veiy regularly. These are, in fact, portions of a 



set of forcing-pumps, which admit water when, 
they rise, and drive it through the respiratory 
organs, where they unite. The hairs which cover 
the valves act as filters by which the water is 
strained clear of the mud in which the animal 
lives, and therefore the felt-like covering which is 

The Sea Mouse. 

formed by them is always so full of mud that it 
cannot be cleaned without great difficulty. Indeed, 
a specimen which is to be dissected requires fre- 
quent washings and rinsings before it can be placed 
in. the spirits of wine in which it is dissected. 

Some species which live in places where the 
water is clear do not need the hairy covering of 
the valves, and therefore do not possess it. 

In order to show the appearance of the Aphrodite 
when crawling, a side view of it is given in the 
accompanying illustration. 

On several parts of our coasts, more especially 
on the southern shores of England, the wanderer 
by the seaside may find great numbers of a very 
interesting marine worm, which lives in tubes 
made out of sand. On account of the material 
from which they make their habitation, the crea- 
tures belonging to this group are called by the 
name of Sabella, and the best-known species is 
that which is known to naturalists as Sabella 
alveolaria. This worm is an eminently social being, 


and always builds its tubes in agglomerated masses. 
A portion of one of these masses is shown in the 
illustration, as it appears when cleaned from the 
loose sand that lies among the tubes, and almost 
renders their form invisible. The process of 


clearing away the sand is not a very easy one, 
as the tubes are exceedingly fragile, and crumble 
to pieces if handled roughly. 

The strength of the tube is, however, variable, 
and when the tubes are attached throughout their 
length to a piece of rock or stone, they are very 
much stronger than when they are comparatively 
free. A specimen now before me is of the latter 
character, and can be crumbled to pieces between 
the fingers. 

At a, in the illustration, one of the inmates may 
be seen protruding from its tubular home, and at 
fig. 6, Plate V., a specimen is shown as it appears 
when removed entirely from the tube and magnified 
to twice its usual dimensions. When in its tube, 
the slender tail is doubled up along the body. The 
beautiful tentacles which adorn the head are most 
elaborately constructed. They are about sixty in 
number, and each is furnished with a double row 


of teeth, very nmch resembling the arrangement 
of the teeth in a double comb. In order to enable 
the animal to emerge from its dwelling and to 
withdraw itself at will, many of the segments are 
furnished with small but strong bristles. As is 
the case with most of the annelids which inhabit 
tubes, the creature protrudes its body very slowly, 
but withdraws it with so quick a jerk that it seems 
to vanish by magic. 

The work of tube-building goes on almost with- 
out interruption, though the Sabella appears to 
prefer the night as its time of labour. Sometimes 
the animal leaves its tube altogether, and appears 
to be as nmch at ease out of its residence as in it. 
Many of the tube inhabitants follow the same 
custom, but, as a general rule, they only come out 
to die. 

If a number of Sabellse are placed in a glass 
vessel, and supplied with plenty of sand, they will 
build their tubular houses as freely as if they were 
in the open sea, especially if the vessel be kept in 
darkness. When they can be induced to do so, 
the aquarium-keeper may rejoice, as he will have 
an excellent opportunity of watching the habits of 
the animal. Like many other creatures that con- 
struct houses, and are supposed to act from instinct 
alone, the Sabella possesses a sufficient amount of 
reasoning power not to work more than is abso- 
lutely necessary. If it finds itself placed near the 
side of a glass vessel, it will attach its tube to the 
glass throughout its entire length, and will not 
only gain a permanent support for its habitation, 
but will make its tube a mere segment of a cylin- 
der, the glass supplying the missing portion. Thus 
the observer can see the tube and watch the 
proceedings of its inmates without the least diffi- 


Our next example of the tube-inhabiting worms 
is the beautiful Serpula (Plate V fig. 9). 

This creature derives its name of Serpula, a little 
serpent, from the snake-like coils of its tube. Its 
tube, instead of being made of sand, like that of 
the Sabella, is formed of a calcareous or chalky 
substance, and is as white and nearly as hard as 
white china. 

In general structure the worm which makes and 
inhabits this tube resembles the Sabella, but it is 
far more beautiful. The double fan of tentacles 
which project from the head is of a brilliant scarlet, 
variegated with white, and one of the tentacles is 
modified with a conical stopper, deeply grooved, 
which enables the Serpula to close at will the 
entrance of its tube. Sometimes, especially in 
captivity, the Serpula remains obstinately hidden 
in its tube, the lovely fan concealed, and the 
stopper jealously guarding the entrance. 

And so sensitive is this little worm, that even 
when it is fully expanded, a hasty footstep in the 
room, a sudden jar to the floor, or even a bird 
flying between the light and the aquarium, will 
cause the Serpula to start back with such rapidity 
that the eye cannot follow its movements. This 
last fact is very singular, especially as no vestige 
of visual organs can be seen. But that the animal 
is exceedingly sensitive to light and darkness is a 
fact, for which any one who has kept Serpulse can 
at once vouch. I have had many of these lovely 
creatures, and have always admired the extraordi- 
nary sensitiveness possessed by a being which looks 
as if it had no senses at all. Like the Sabella, the 
Serpula occasionally leaves its tube ; but I have 
always found that such a proceeding means a 
speedy death. For my own part, I was always 
rather glad when they did leave their tubes to die, 


as they could then be easily removed from the 
aquarium, and did not taint the water with their 
dead bodies. 

This particular species, Serpula contortuplicata, 
can seldom be obtained without the aid of the 
dredge ; but there are two species that can be 
procured at low water without the aid of any 
instrument except the hand. One is the Serpula 
triquetra, so called because its tube, instead of 
being round, is triangular, like a bayonet; the 
three corners being as well defined as in that 
formidable weapon. The tube of this species does 
not stand out freely like that of the preceding 
Serpula, but is attached throughout its whole length 
to some object, generally a stone or an oyster shell. 

The last species which will be mentioned is a 
very small one, that is found chiefly on the stalks 
and fronds of the great Oar-weed, or Tangle (Lami- 
naria). If the young observer will go to the sea- 
shore at low water, and wade boldly into that 
portion of the shore which is technically named 
the Laminarian zone — i.e., that part in. which the 
Laminaria grows — he will see that the fronds and 
stalks are beset with tiny spinal shells set flatly in 
the leaf, and looking very much as if they were 
univalve Molluscs in a very early stage of ex- 
istence. They are, however, the homes of veritable 
Annelids, which are known to zoologists as belong- 
ing to the genus Spirorbis. These worms closely 
resemble the true Serpulse, and, in spite of their 
minute size, possess a stopper almost exactly the 
same as has been already described. 

It is not at all necessary to go as far as the 
Laminarian zone in order to find specimens of the 
Spirorbis, as they are to be seen on almost any 
piece of seaweed that is large enough to afford 
them a resting-place. But if they are needed for 



the aquarium, it is better to go as far seaward as 


One of the commonest and, at tie same time, 
one of the most interesting of tube- 
building worms, is that animal 
which is popularly known by the 
name of Sand Mason, or Shell- 
binder, according to the materials 
of which its habitation is made, and 
is scientifically termed Terebella. 
One of these worms, the Shell- 
binder, is shown at Plate V., fig. 8, 
as it appears when partially pro- 
truded from the tube. These 
creatures are in fact two distinct 
species, but the structure of them- 
selves and their habitation is so 
similar that they need not be de- 
scribed separately. 

This worm may be found on 
many of our sandy shores, and may 
be easily distinguished by the 
thread-like tentacles that proceed 
from the mouth of the tube. These 
tubes generally protrude about an 
inch or so from the sand, and their 
appearance may be learned by re- 
ference to the accompanying illus- 
tration. The tubes are about a foot 
in length, and have two openings, 
one at some little distance from the 
other; and the inhabitant is able to 
Terebella. move at will to either end of its 
tube, aided by the tufts of bristle 

with which some of its segments are furnished. 
Unlike the fragile tube of the Sabella, or the 

hard and brittle tube of the Serpula, that of the 


Terebella is tolerably tough; the fragments of 
which it is composed being bound together by a 
secretion from the animal which has a silken aspect, 
and not only makes the materials of the tube adhere 
to each other, but forms a smooth and soft lining. 
If a perfect Terebella and tube be wanted, the only 
way is to dig very cautiously under the sand, the 
touch being exercised more than the sight. As in 
rocky places the worm has a habit of burrowing 
under a piece of rock, and leaving an end of the 
tube at each side of it, the perfect tube is not to be 
obtained without much care and trouble. 

But when it is dug out, the aquarium-keeper 
has a treasure which will repay him for any amount 
of labour. If he likes, he can turn the worm out 
of its tube, and by supplying it liberally with sand 
or broken shell, according to the species, can see it 
build another tube around itself. This process is 
achieved by means of the tentacles, which form 
themselves into too]s of marvellous power. In- 
teresting as is the mode in which the tube is built 
up, it is so complicated that our space will not 
allow it to be described, and in consequence the 
reader is advised to catch the worm and watch it 
for himself. 


Our next group of marine animals is called by 
the name of Radiata, because their parts radiate 
from a common centre. They comprise the Star- 
fisheSj the Sea Urchins, the Sea Cucumbers, and 
their kin, and we will examine briefly one or two 
examples of each. 

The first example is the Sea Cucumber {Holvr 
thuria), which is represented in the accompanying 
illustration. It is generally obtained by the dredge, 
J? 2 


as it does not frequent shallow water, on account or 
the dislike which it bears towards light, and has a 
habit of clinging to the under surface of stones- 
and similar objects, so that stones and animals are 
hauled up together. One of the most curious 
points in the Holuthuria is the number of slender 

white tubes with which 
the body is almost en- 
tirely filled, and a habit 
among some species of 
committing suicide by 
beating themselves into 
several pieces. Some- 
times it will throw off 
its beautiful feathery 
coronet of tentacles, as 
well as the whole of 
its digestive apparatus. 
However, if allowed to 
remain in tranquillity, 
it reproduces the whole 
apparatus, and appears- 
in perfect health. Many 
species of Holuthuria 
are eaten by the Chinese 
under the name of Tre- 

We now come to the 
Sea Urchins, or Sea 
Hedgehogs, so called be- 
cause they are covered 
with spines that bear 
the quills with which the 
The spines are moveable, 
each being furnished with a ball-shaped base, which 
works in a socket attached to the body of the 
animal. The attachment of the spines is exceed- 

Sea Cucumber. 
some resemblance to 
hedgehog is armed. 


ingly slight, and when the creature is dead, they 
fall off with the least touch. "When these spines 
are removed, the sockets can easily be examined, 
and have a very pretty appeaiunce, being ranged 
in regular order upon the outer case of the animal. 

This outer case, or shell, is well worthy of notice. 
It is composed of hexagonal plates of shelly 
matter, and as each plate is continually enlarged 
by the deposition of fresh sub- 
stance round its edge, it will be 
seen that the shell can grow con- 
tinually without alteration of its 
shape. There are about ten 
thousand of these plates in a single specimen. In 
the accompanying illustration may be seen a portion 
of the shell and spines. On the right are two of 
the spines removed from their places, so as to show 
their globular bases, while a number of the sockets 
are seen on the plates occupying the shell. A 
portion of four plates is given, to show the mode 
of junction, and the manner in which they can 
be regularly increased in size without altering in 

This part of the structure of the animal must, 
of course, be examined after its death. During 
its life, the Echinus does not seem to be particu- 
larly active, though it will walk up and down the 
stones within the aquarium, or even up the glass 
sides. If it can be induced to perform this latter 
feat, the observer should carefully notice the won- 
derful means of progression which it employs. 
These consist of a vast number of organ-like 
tentacles, which project through minute holes in 
the case, or box, of the Echinus, and which answer 
the purpose of feet. In some species there are at 
least fifteen hundred of these feet. 

To watch the creature in the act of walking is 


most interesting. Innumerable feet project from 
the shell, and attach themselves to the glass, some 
bending in one way and some in another, but all 
with a definite object. Sometimes the animal 
twists itself quite round by means of these curious 
organs, and it is most extraordinary that their 
action should ever be sufficiently imder control to 
enable the animal to direct its course. An Echinus 
is seen at Plate V., fig. 1. 

The structure of the mouth is also worthy of 
notice. If the observer will look at the orifice at 
the lower surface of the Echinus, he will see that 
five very sharp tooth-like objects meet in its centre. 
These are the tips of the teeth, and are the only 
visible portions of a most wonderful and compli- 
cated structure. Our space will not allow this 
marvellous organ of mastication to be described, 
and, indeed, the object of this little work is chiefly 
to direct the owner of an aquarium to the points 
most worthy of investigation, and not to describe 
them. Suffice it to say, that if a portion of the 
side of the shell be carefully cut away, the whole 
formation of the mouth, with its five long, sharply- 
pointed teeth, and the lantern-like form of their 
arrangement, can be easily seen. The examination 
should be made while the creature is still fresh, 
so that the teeth can be moved and the action of 
the muscles seen. 

If the observer will take an ordinary magnifying- 
glass and examine the surface of the shell, he will 
see that between the spines it is studded with a 
vast mimber of tiny projections called pedicellarise. 
They can be seen easily enough without the aid of 
the glass ; but their form is better made out by the 
use of a lens. Their stems are hardly thicker than 
hairs, and their tips are furnished with round 
knobs, or, in many instances, with three bag-like 


blades, which are continually being opened and 
closed. During the life of the Echinus, the pedi- 
cellarise are in constant motion, swaying about 
from side to side, and the strangely-formed tips 
opening and shutting their blades with singular 




THE accompanying illustration represents a very 
familiar example of the next group of radiates, 
namely, the Common Five-finger Star-fish of our 
coasts, which may be found in such vast numbers 
along the shores, especially after a gale. Its 
scientific name is Uraster rubens. Common as is 

Five-finger Star-fish. 

this creature, and much as it is despised by the 
generality of persons, it is well worthy of a very 
close investigation. Let one of these Star-fishes 
be taken up and its under surface examined. If it 
be alive, thousands of " feet " similar to those 
mentioned when treating of the Echinus will be 


seen protruding from the under surface of the rays, 
moving about and twisting their translucent stems 
in every direction, as if trying to find some object 
on which to gain a hold. 

By means of these "ambulacra," as they are 
scientifically termed, the Star-fish contrives to 
proceed at a regular though slow pace, and has a 
marvellous facility of gliding through passages 
which seem far too narrow to permit the body 
to pass. Even if it be laid on its back, the Star- 
fish can turn itself over by means of these 
ambulacra, bending the rays so as to fix as many of 
them as possible, and then gradually drawing 
itself over by the attachment of more and more of 
these organs. In the illustration, the lower limb 
on the left-hand side is slightly turned over, so as 
to show the general appearance of the ambulacra. 
The working of these beautiful organs of pro- 
gression is best seen by taking the animal home 
and putting it in the aquarium. Experiments can 
be tried by surrounding it with stones, and seeing 
how it either surmounts the obstacles or creeps 
between them. In either case it accommodates 
itself to the shape of surrounding objects in a very 
curious manner. 

The aquarium-keeper must not put the Five- 
finger in the same vessel with other animals, 
especially with molluscs, as it is a most voracious 
being, and will do almost as much harm as a wolf 
in a sheepfold. It eats them by clasping its five 
limbs round them and forcing them into its mouth, 
if they are small ; and if they are too large to be 
swallowed, it contrives to eat them out of their 
shells. Oyster-beds suffer greatly from the attacks 
of the Five-fingers, and even when an angler is 
fishing in the sea he is apt to find that his bait has 
been taken, not by a whiting or other fish, but by 


a Five-finger. Crabs are annoying enough to the 
marine angler, but the Five-finger is scarcely less 
troublesome, wrapping its red rays round the bait, 
and effectually keeping off the fish which it was 
intended to allure. 

In consequence of its predatory habits, pro- 
fessional fishermen have a deadly hatred of this 
species, and destroy, or rather try to destroy, every 
specimen that they capture. But, owing to their 
ignorance of zoology, they fail most signally in 
their endeavours. Like many other beings that 
occupy a very low position in the animal kingdom, 
the Star-fishes have a very great power of repro- 
ducing lost or damaged members. It is a common 
thing to find specimens of this very species with 
only three rays, and sometimes a Five-finger is 
found with only one ray complete. Now, the 
fishermen, either ignorant of their reproductive 
powers, or failing to draw a just inference from 
their knowledge, have a custom of tearing the Star- 
fish in two, and throwing the pieces back into the 
sea. The consequence is, that the two halves 
become two individuals, and the fisherman has 
only doubled the power of his foe instead of 
destroying it. 

With care, and, above all, with a plentiful 
supply of frequently-renewed water, a very cool 
locality, and a judiciously darkened aquarium, these 
creatures will live for a considerable time, and will 
allow their habits to be studied. But, like all 
inhabitants of an aquarium, they are sure to die 
sooner or later ; and when the event takes place, 
their structure ought to be examined. There are 
three points to which I would specially draw 
attention. The first is the structure of the hard, 
rough skin which covers the upper surface, together 
with the pedicel] arisa which are found upon it. 


The next point is the mouth, and the curious 
arrangement of the digestive organs ; and the third 
is the elaborate skeleton, if we may use the word, 
by which the form of the creature is preserved. 

If the rays of a common Star-fish be merely 
laid open, a most wonderful structure presents 
itself, rows upon rows of pure white pillars standing 
in regular order like fairy colonnades. The whole 
of this beautiful structure can be laid bare by 
washing the Star-fish well in fresh water, and then 
putting it near an ants' nest. The Star-fish should 
be in a box pierced full of holes, so as to allow the 
ants to enter and leave the box, while the dust and 
wind are kept out. 

At Plate V., fig. 3, is a representation of 
another common species, which certainly has a 
better claim to the title of Star-fish than that 
which has just been described, the rays being 
twelve in number instead of five, and ranged 
regularly round the central disc. This is the 
common Sun Star (Solaster papposa). This fine 
species occasionally attains a considerable size, and 
has a very handsome appearance. 

At Plate V., fig. 2, is shown one of the 
remarkable creatures called Brittle Stars, because 
they have a habit of breaking themselves to pieces 
whenever they are alarmed. It seems almost strange 
that such a creature should experience a feeling of 
alarm, or, indeed, any'mental emotion whatever. 
Yet the Brittle Stars are peculiarly timid, and have 
some strange instinctive way of detecting danger. 
One would think that, however the danger might 
be dreaded, it could do no worse than beat the Star- 
fish to pieces, and yet the creature adopts this 
singular mode of escaping from its enemies. 

The species which is represented in the engraving- 
is one of the commonest of the English Brittle 


Stars, and can be found on almost any of our coasts. 
For large specimens a dredge is needful, but for 
very small examples no tools are required, except 
perhaps a little pail. 

If the young naturalist will go down to the 
shore at low-water, and wade into the pools and 
runnels worn in the rocks by the action of the sea, 
he will perceive masses of green algae, of which the 
common Cladophora is best for his purpose. Let him 
grasp the bunches of Cladophora just above their 
attachment to the rock, pluck them off, and put them 
into his pail, and take them home. He should 
then spread out separately each bunch of seaweed in 
a basin of sea-water, and in almost every bunch he 
will find some Brittle Stars of very small size, but 
quite perfect. One or two of the best of these 
should be preserved as objects for the microscope, 
and, if possible, should be examined with a rather 
low power — say an inch focus — and with a bino- 
cular instrument. 

There are few inhabitants of the aquarium which 
-are more familiar than the Actinias — Sea Ane- 
mones, as they are popularly called. These singular 
^examples of animal life are plentiful in almost every 
part of the world, although they do not attain their 
full luxuriance of colour in the colder seas, and in 
the Polar regions appear to be absent altogether. 

On the British coasts we find a wonderful variety 
of these animals, the largest and finest specimens 
belonging almost exclusively to the southern shores, 
and being especially plentiful in Devonshire. The 
jnost common of the British Actiniae is shown in 
Plate VI., fig. 1, as it appears when expanded. 
Scientifically it is called Actinia mesembryanthe- 
mum, but gifted by Mr. Gosse with the appropriate 
name of Beadlet, on account of the row of brilliant 
azure beads which are seen just under the tentacles. 


The colour of this species is exceedingly variable, 
and specimens may be found of almost every inter- 
mediate shade between olive-green and dark red. 
Brown is a very common tint ; but even in the 
lower specimens a decided tinge of green or red is 
sure to be seen. 

The Beadlets may be found by hundreds on any 
of our coasts where they can find a rock to which 
they can cling. They are among the hardiest of 
their race, and suffer no injury from a lengthened 
exposure to the air. Indeed, they may be taken in 
profusion upon rocks which are more than half- 
way between low and high-water mark, so that 
they spend a considerable portion of their lives out 
of water. 

Plentiful as they are, they are not easily detected 
by an unpractised eye. When affixed to the rock 
and deprived of water, their multitudinous tentacles 
are withdrawn, the brilliant row of azure beads 

more than a €^^ss^z7^Z^T^^^^^^^^-~ 
casual lump of Beadlet, when closed. 

green or red jelly that has been flung against the 
rock and stuck there. Its appearance when closed 
is shown in the illustration just given. A very 
short experience, however, will enable the observer 
to detect the Beadlet at a glance, and he will 
identify it as easily when it is closed as when it is 
blooming in all its wonderful beauty. 

Not only is the colour variable in different 
specimens, but it has been known to alter in a 
single individual. More or less light, the density 
of the water, the supply of food, and other external 


conditions, have a wonderful effect in the colouring, 
and will force a Beadlet to gain or lose its tints 
within a comparatively short space of time. Still, 
however variable may be the colouring of the 
Beadlet, there is one point in which almost every 
specimen is alike. A narrow line of rich blue 
runs along the edge of the base, and adds much 
to the beauty of the creature. 

The Beadlets are seldom found singly; and 
where one is seen, others may be expected. 
Generally, one large specimen is surrounded by 
a cluster of smaller animals, which are evidently 
its progeny, and which have never stirred from the 
place of their birth. The greater number are 
carried away by the tide, but a few generally 
succeed in planting themselves close to their 
parent, and in their turn produce a new colony. 
They are marvellously prolific beings, and even in 
a common aquarium a single specimen will produce 
a crowd of young, that stud every piece of rock and 
little stone to which they can cling. In their early 
stage they are very pretty little beings, though they 
are nearly transparent, and do not possess the 
beautiful colouring which adorns the matured 

Opinions are much divided as to the necessity of 
feeding Actiniae when in an aquarium ; some saying 
that the creatures only swallow by mechanical 
action, and do not digest the food which they take ; 
while others state that unless they are fed, they 
first lose their beauty and then their lives. I 
incline to the latter theory, and have always fed 
my specimens, though sparingly, and not with beef 
or mutton, but with the kind of food which they 
are likely to obtain in the sea. 

This species has a curious habit of detaching 
itself from the object to which it is clinging, 


inverting itself in the water, hollowing its base, 
and so forming itself into a simple kind of boat, 
just as do the fresh-water snails on a fine day. I 
have often watched the progress of this action, but 
our space is too limited to permit me to do more 
than recommend the young observer to examine it 
for himself. 

As may be supposed from its mode of life, it is 
a singularly hardy inhabitant of an aquarium, and 
will permit very great liberties to be taken without 
seeming to resent them. Pure fresh water it does 
not endure, but it will flourish even when the water 
has been reduced by evaporation to barely half its 
ordinary volume : and there is a well-known anec- 
dote of some specimens which were by mistake put 
into a jug of porter, and which survived after an im- 
mersion of fourteen days. Consequently, the young 
aquarium-keeper cannot do better than take this 
species as his trial essay, and study its habits before 
he attempts to keep the more delicate species, which 
are killed by the neglect of a few days, or even of 
a few hours. 

There is a splendid species of Sea Anemone 
which is plentiful on some of our coasts, and which 
although common, and sometimes rather despised 
because it is so common, is far handsomer than 
many species which are much admired, not so 
much for their beauty as their scarcity. Its scien- 
tific name is Tealia crassicornis ; but I always 
used to call it the " Crass." Mr. G-osse, however, in 
his valuable "British Sea Anemones," calls it 
the Dahlia Wartlet. This title is a very appro- 
priate one, because the spread tentacles bear a 
really close resemblance to the flower of the dahlia, 
and the body is covered with little projecting warts, 
to which are attached fragments of stone and other 


If the Beadlet is only to be found with diffi- 
culty, the Wartlet cannot be detected without twice 
the care needed for the other species. It does not 

Dahlia Wartlet. 

simply adhere to the rock, but prefers a place 
where the rocks run well out into the sea, and are 
partly covered with sand. The wide base of the 
creature is affixed to the rock, while it has the 
power of contracting its body at will, so that it 
is almost wholly buried beneath the sand. And 
as the body is thickly covered with pieces of shell 
and stone adhering to the warts, it is hardly pos- 
sible to detect a closed specimen until repeated 
observations have taught the eye to mark the signs 
of its presence. 

Though so plentiful, it is curiously local, and 
even in places so close to each other as Kamsgate 
and Margate there is a marked difference in its 
numbers. On the shore of the former place it is 
exceedingly plentiful, so much so that the bather 
often recoils from the touch of its tentacles, and 


three or four may be seen in the compass of a 
square yard. But off Margate it is by no means 
so common, and a very careful search must be 
made before it can be discovered. Moreover, as 
far as my own experience goes, it does not seem to 
attain the same size at Margate as at Ramsgate. 

This splendid species takes almost any colour, 
from pearly white to scarlet and green. The ten- 
tacles are visually banded with crimson and white, 
and have a most lovely appearance when fully 
expanded. A fine specimen will measure more 
than five inches in diameter, so that an idea of its 
beauty may easily be formed. 

Unfortunately, it is not to be recommended for 
the aquarium. In the first place, it is too large 
for the ordinary tanks ; and, in the next, it is so 
very voracious. In its native state it eats green 
crabs, molluscs, shrimps, and, in fact, anything of 
an animal nature. It even captures the brisk and 
active prawns, arresting them in a moment, if 
they happen to touch any of its tentacles, and 
then forcing the unfortunate animal into its 

Here I may mention that the tentacles are used 
in procuring food. In spite of their fragile and 
delicate appearance, they are most terrible weapons 
of destruction, armed with myriads of tiny arrows, 
and able to catch and retain even the strong and 
quarrelsome green crab. Sometimes this species 
obtains prey of a different character. Mr. J. 
Couch mentions that he saw a bee mistake an 
expanded Dahlia Wartlet for an open flower, and 
fly towards it. No sooner had it touched one of 
the simulated petals than it was arrested by the 
myriad harpoons that the tentacles can emit, and, 
in spite of its violent struggles, was gradually 



In the accompanying illustration are shown two- 
figures of a pretty species of anemone that is much 
favoured by the owners of aquaria. It is called 
the Snake-locked Anemone (Sagartia viduata), and 

Snake-locked Anemone. Fig. a. 

derives its name from the peculiar tentacles, which 
are very long, very slender, and very numerous, 
waving in the water like the fabled tresses of 

There are few species which exhibit more 
complete changes of form than the Snake-locked 
Anemone. Two of its changes are shown in 
the illustrations ; fig. a show- 
ing it as it appears when fully 
expanded, and fig. b as it ap- 
pears when closed. I have 
always found it to be rather a 
capricious being. Sometimes 
it will become so flat that it 
is scarcely thicker than a six- 
pence, and every vestige of 
life seems to have vanished. 
Then if a supply of water be poured into the 
tank, or if it be roused from its inaction, it 


■will rapidly swell out ; and in a minute or two, 
the flat plate of whitish jelly has become a splendid 
Sea Anemone, with a column several inches in 
length, and with some two hundred long tentacles 
waving gracefully in the water. 

Though most plentiful on the Devonshire coast, 
this species is to be obtained in many parts of 
England. Mr. Gosse has mentioned a list of 
localities where it has been found, and I can add 
to that list the name of Eamsgate. where it was 
discovered by Mr. J. T. Hillier, who kindly '"As- 
sented me -with some specimens. It is very local, 
and, as far as it is at present known, is only found 
in one place — namely, adhering to the woodwork 
of a sluice-gate. Still, as many young must be 
produced annually, it is probable that specimens 
may have taken up their habitation in many a spot 
at present unknown. 

g 2 




" Z our space is limited, we must restrict ourselves 
.Q. to two more species. One of them is shown 
at Plate VI., fig. 2, and is called, from its peculiar 
aspect, the Plumose Anemone. Its scientific name 
is Actinoloba dianthus. 

This species, when fully expanded, is undoubtedly 
the finest of its kind which inhabit the British 
coasts. The figure shows it as it appears when it 
is beginning to expand itself ; but when it is fully 
extended, it is a singularly handsome creature, its 
column being sometimes six inches in length and 
three in width. 

The colour of the Plumose Anemone is ex- 
ceedingly variable. Sometimes it is pure white, 
sometimes slightly tinged with yellow, and, in fact, 
it is found of every imaginable tint between brown, 
yellow, white, and red. 

The Plumose Anemone is chiefly remarkable for 
its puckered disc, which is divided into a number 
of frills that look almost as if they were delicate 
feathers attached to the animals. Sometimes the 
fringes are scarcely seen, and at others they are put 
forth in all their magnificence. Indeed, the Plumose 
Anemone is even more capricious than the Snake- 
locked species, and is continually modifying its 
form. As it dislikes light, and will not put forth 
all its glories except in darkness, the best mode of 


inducing it to expand itself completely is to cover 
the aquarium or to darken the room, and then the 
observer can come on it suddenly before it has had 
time to contract itself. 

Our last species, the Cave-dwelling Anemone 
(Sagartia troglodytes), is chiefly remarkable for its 
free and roving habits. Sometimes it fixes itself 
by the base, protrudes its tentacles through the 
sand, and covers them with broken shells and small 
stones. A specimen is shown at Plate VI., fig. 3, 
as it appears when fixed, and in a partially 
expanded state. But sometimes it detaches itself 
from the object on which it has been resting, and 
allows the waves to carry it wherever they may 
choose. It will sometimes pass several months in 
a free state, the base being totally unattached, but 
the tentacles acting as anchors when it wishes to 
fix itself to any given spot. A figure of this species, 
when closed and unattached, is given at fig. 4 of 
the same plate. 

We now pass on to another series of animals, 
called the Hydroid Zoophytes, several species of 
which are shown in Plate VI., figs. 5 to 12. All 
these species, together with others, were taken on 
the Ramsgate coast, and have been kept in an 
aquarium. These curious animals are very plant- 
like in their form, having stems, branches, and, in 
many cases, apparent flowers, which are, in reality, 
the animals by whom the stems and branches were 
formed. Indeed, for a very long time, these animals 
were thought to be seaweeds ; and even at the 
present day, in those collections of seaweeds which 
are sold in marine watering-places, it is hardly 
possible to find one in which there are not several 
specimens of these zoophytes. Here I may mention 
that the term zoophyte literally signifies animal- 
plant ; and, owing to the singularly plant-like 


form of many of the zoophytes, the name is very 

Our first example belongs to the genus Coryne, 
the species of which are known by the knobbed 
ends of the tentacles. A specimen is shown in 
Plate "VI., fig. 5 ; and at fig. 6 a portion is drawn 
on an enlarged scale, for the purpose of showing 
the characteristic forms of the tentacles. Several 
species of Coryne may be found on our shores, and 
it is probable that the number of known species 
may be still more augmented. 

At figs. 6 and 7 are shown two species of another 
genus, called Tubularia, on account of the tubular 
structure of the stem and branches, which are 
collectively known as the " polypary." Fig. 6 
represents Tvhularia indivisa, and fig. 7 T. 
gracilis. By the side of each is placed the polype 
on a magnified scale, in order to assist the observer 
in identifying the particular species. 

Fig. 8 shows one of the commonest, as well as one 
of the prettiest, of British zoophytes. It is called 
Sertularia argentea, and looks, when in the water, 
like a beautiful feathery plume. Even when re- 
moved from the water, it is sufficiently firm and 
stiff to carry out the resemblance to a feather. A 
magnified portion is shown by its side. This 
zoophyte may often be found adhering to shells, 
and even to Crustacea ; the common spider-crab 
being often so covered with it and these zoophytes 
that its shape is scarcely visible. 

At fig. 9 is shown the elegant zoophyte called 
Plumularia falcata; and a magnified figure is 
given of a single branch, to show how the cells are 
set on the stem. 

Fig. 10 represents a very curious zoophyte called 
Laomedea geniculate!, ; and another species of the 
same genus, L. gelatmosa, is seen at fig. 11, each 


being accompanied by a portion on a magnified 
scale. The structure and — if such a term may be 
used — the habits of the Laomedea are singularly 
interesting ; but even an imperfect description 
woxdd fill the whole of the pages devoted to marine 

The last of our examples is one of the Bell 
zoophytes, Campanularia volubilis, which is shown 
at fig. 12. They have earned this name by the 
belldike form of their cells, from each of which 
protrudes a tiny polype, with a number of delicate 
tentacles. The whole of these zoophytes must be 
examined by the aid of a magnifying-glass. 

On Plate V., at figs. 4 and 5, are figures of two 
common species of those creatures that are scienti- 
fically named Acalephse, and are popularly known 
by the name of Jelly-fishes. The latter term, is 
due to the gelatinous aspect of most of the species, 
and the former is simply a Greek word, signifying 
a nettle, and which was applied to the Jelly-fishes 
in consequence of the stinging properties possessed 
by many species. 

Kg. 4 represents the beautiful creature which is 
popxilarly called the Sea Acorn, and which has had 
several names — that of Cydippe pomiformis being 
generally used at the present day. 

The animal is represented of the natural size, and 
its colour is that of the purest glass, the tints of the 
engraving being intended to imitate the iridescence 
which plays over its surface at every movement. 
In general shape the Cydippe is very like a melon, 
and along the exterior run narrow bands, which are 
seen to be ever changing their colour, all the hues 
•of the rainbow rippling over them in the most 
wonderful manner. 

A close inspection with the magnifying-glass 
shows that these bands are composed of a vast 


number of tiny flaps, very much like "Venetian 
blinds on an infinitesimal scale. Each flap moves 
up and down in regular rotation, and the result is 
that the light is refracted in a variable manner, and 
the hues that are produced necessaiily change with 
each movement of such flaps. There are eight of 
these bands in the Cydippe. 

"When the creature is floating in the sea, it is 
almost invisible, and even when placed in a glass 
vessel of water, a practised eye is needed to detect it. 
Indeed the only mode of doing so is by the faint 
and evanescent bands of coloured light which ripple 
over the animal as it moves to and fro in the water. 

The best mode of catching this and similar in- 
habitants of the sea is by towing a fine net astern 
of a boat, letting the net come well to the surface. 
Every now and then, when the net is examined, 
it will be found to be studded with sundry little 
lumps of translucent jelly, apparently as destitute 
of form and life as of colour. These should be 
transferred to a vessel of water, by gently turning 
the net inside out, and placing it in the vessel, 
when the little creatures will detach themselves 
and swim away into the water, where they seem 
to disappear like magic. Sometimes, especially 
after a gale, myriads of them may be found upon 
the shore ; but they are mostly dead ; even those 
which have been flung into the high rock-pools 
seldom surviving. 

The Cydippe is a very pretty inhabitant of the' 
aquarium, and its movements are singularly grace- 
ful. It swims here and there with a ceaseless 
motion, turning over and over, trailing after it 
the long tentacles, which contract and elongate 
continually, while over its surface light bands of 
iridescent hues are continually rippling. 

Neither this, nor any other Acaleph of which I 


have personal knowledge, will live very long in an 
aquarium ; but for the time that they can be kept 
they are most beautiful and interesting beings. 

At fig. 5, Plate V., is shown a very pretty and 
tolerably common Acaleph belonging to the genus 
Sarsia. This is one of the innumerable creatures- 
which we know by the name of Medusse, in con- 
sequence of the long fibres which are trailed after 
them, and which writhe and twist about in the 
water like the serpent tresses of the mythical 
Medusa. Some of these Medusse are gifted with 
terrible weapons, and by the aid of tiny fibres, not 
thicker than the thread of a spider's web, they cam 
kill many of the smaller inhabitants of the sea. 

Some of the tropical species are so poisonous 
that if their floating tresses coil round a human 
being they affect him as if he had been stung from 
head to foot by a swarm of wasps. In the colder- 
seas of the British shores these formidable beings 
cannot live ; but even on our own coasts a pecu- 
liarly venomous species exists. Its scientific name 
is Cyanea capillata, and it is popularly called the 
Stinger, or Stanger. After a southerly gale, this 
species is more common than agreeable, and I 
have even seen specimens floating tip the Medway- 
nearly as high as Upnor. 

The poison-threads of this species are apparently 
interminable, and I have been stung by them when 
at a distance of many yards from the owner. 
Moreover, the threads sting as freely when sepa- 
rated from the Medusa as when attached to it j so 
that a single specimen may inflict an enormous 
amount of pain, if it should happen to float among 
a company of bathers. 

The effect of the poison varies according to the 
individual. Some persons care little for it ; and 
suffer scarcely any pain, except a sharp sort of 


pricking sensation, which is unpleasant at the 
time, but leaves no after-effects. Others, how- 
ever, who, like myself, are afflicted with a sensi- 
tive skin, not only suffer severe and prolonged 
pain, but their health is seriously affected. In my 
own case the action of the heart and lungs is 
deranged for several months ; sharp pains dart 
suddenly through the body, as if caused by a rifle- 
bullet ; and occasionally these sudden pangs have 
been so fierce that I have dropped as if shot, and 
have been forced to lie on the ground for some 
time, before strength returned. I have known 
these symptoms recur more than six months after 
meeting with the Cyanea. 

All the Medusae which possess the bell-like disc, 
whatever its shape may be, propel themselves 
through the water by regular and almost rhyth- 
mical pulsations of the disc. 

( 91 ) 



We now come to the Fresh-water Aquarium. 
The same directions as to the kind of vessel 
which is to be employed, the position, and general 
arrangement of the aquarium, apply equally to 
both. There are only two points in which great 
caution should be exercised. 

In the first place, the sand, gravel, stones, &c, 
that are placed in the tank ought to be placed in 
boiling water for a few minutes, and then to be 
carefully washed and rinsed. If this precaution 
be not taken, various decaying substances, both 
animal and vegetable, are apt to adhere to the 
stones, and to cause unexpected havoc among the 
inhabitants of the aquarium. In the running 
streams, or even in the pond, these substances 
become innocuous, and are rapidly consumed by 
the myriad beings that people the waters ; but in 
the narrow limits of an aquarium the order of 
nature is disturbed, and the balance must be main- 
tained by careful superintendence. 

In the next place, the water must on no account 
be drawn from a well or a pump, and, indeed, any 
kind of water that is used for drinking is unfit for 
the aquarium. The best water is that which is 
drawn from a river, and next to that is the water 
of a pond. Ordinary rain-water will, however, 
answer all purposes, provided that it be clear, and 
that the butt from which it has been taken has 


been provided with a cover. Hard water is in- 
jurious to all inhabitants of an aquarium, and to 
some it is an immediate poison. 

The aquarium having been filled with water, the 
next point is to stock it. Although not absolutely 
necessaiy, a little vegetation has a very pretty 
appearance, and may be advantageously placed in 
the aquarium. Many fresh-water plants are suit- 
able for this purpose, three of which are shown in 
Plate VII. 

Fig. 4 represents the well-known Frog-bit, SO' 
plentiful in our streams. Fig. 5 is the Anacharis, 
that singular weed which has spread itself so rapidly 
through the country, and has made the pastime of 
boating almost impossible on many rivers. Fig. 6 
is a plant which is not indigenous to this country, 
but may easily be obtained. Its name is Vallis- 
neria, and the long, slender leaves have a very 
pleasing appearance in the aquarium. The manner 
in which this plant is reproduced, the tiny male 
flowers which float freely on the surface of the 
water, the female flowers at the end of their slender 
spiral stalks, and the singular movements of the 
plant, are most interesting, but do not come within 
the scope of these papers. 

"We will now proceed to the living inhabitants 
of the fresh-water aquarium. 

The two figures, 1 and 2, on Plate VII., repre- 
sent the male and female of the common Newt 
{Triton cristatus). This animal, which seems to 
belong to the lizards, is in fact one of the same 
group as the frogs and toads, and, as the reader 
may perhaps remember, looks something like the 
tadpole of the frog after it has put forth its legs, 
and before it has lost its tail. 

The Newt, Eft, or Evat, as it is indifferently 
named, is very plentiful in this country, and there 


is scarcely a pond or an old-established ditch that 
is not tenanted by it. Should the reader like to 
take some specimens for the aquarium, he can do 
so by two methods ; namely, angling for them, or 
catching them in a net. They are very fond of 
worms, and if a thread be tied round the middle 
of a worm, and the bait be thrown into the water, 
the Newt is tolerably sure to grasp it, and may be 
coaxed to the edge, and then drawn out on the 
Trank before it loses its hold. A common ring-net 
will, however, answer perfectly well, and if ju- 
diciously used, any number of Newts can be taken. 

Many persons have a strong antipathy towards 
the Newt, an antipathy which is entirely without 
foundation, inasmuch as it is one of the most 
harmless animals that can be conceived. Yet in 
most parts of England the Newt is hated and 
feared as much as if it were a rattlesnake, and 
there are scarcely any bounds to the extravagant 
stories that are told about its noxious powers. It 
is poisonous, it is ferocious, it has venomous teeth, 
it bites cattle, and it spits fire. This last accu- 
sation — rather an absurd one, considering that the 
animal lives in the water — is perhaps more widely 
made than any other. 

Yet the Newt is perfectly harmless, and it is 
very pretty. The male, during the breeding season, 
may lay claim to special beauty. The colour of the 
upper part of the body is olive-green, mottled with 
dark brown ; the under parts are rich orange, with 
black spots, and along the back runs a most delicate 
membranous fringe, deeply serrated, like a cock's 
comb, and being of a lovely scarlet hue. This 
appendage is only worn for a short time, when it 
is absorbed into the body and disappears, leaving 
scarcely a trace behind it. 

If possible, the aquarium-keeper should watch 


the whole life of the Newt, from its first appear- 
ance in the world, in the shape of an egg tied up 
in a slender leaf, through all its changes of struc- 
ture, until it has attained its perfect form. The 
Newt will change its skin several times, and the 
cast skin should be preserved for examination. It 
is very thin, and floats in the water like a film. 
It can be removed by slipping a piece of white 
cardboard under it, and arranging the skin upon 
it exactly as seaweeds are fixed on paper. No 
cement will be needed, as it will fix itself to the 
cardboard so firmly that, when dry, it seems rather 
to be a drawing in pale sepia than a veritable 

"We will pass over the frogs and toads, and, in 
our next, come to the fresh-water fishes. 




AT fig. 6, Plate VIII., is shown a figure of the 
Three-spiiied Stickleback, one of the best- 
known inhabitants of our inland streams. Ditches 
are especially favoured by the Stickleback, particu- 
larly if a tolerably swift current runs through them. 
The Sticklebacks are notable for the peculiarity 
from which they derive their name, i. e., a number 
of sharp spikes projecting from the body. The 
number of these spines varies in different species, 
some having as many as fifteen, and others, as in 
the present case, only three. Their bodies are not 
wholly defended with overlapping scales, as in the 
generality of fish, but are protected by rows of 
bony plates, between which the bare skin of the 
creature is visible. 

In many species the skin of the males glows with, 
the most brilliant colours, — red, green, and gold 
being the most conspicuous ; and in the breeding 
season the appearance of these little fishes is truly 
beautiful. Indeed, if they could only be magnified 
some twelve or fourteen diameters, they would not 
be excelled in beauty by any inhabitant of the sea 
or river, and not even the gorgeous fishes of the 
tropics would surpass them in brilliancy and rich- 
ness of colouring. 

When the Sticklebacks are kept in the aquarium, 
they must either be placed in a large tank or in 
separate vessels, as they are quarrelsome to a 


degree, and can fight to the death with their 
spiked weapons. 

They will fight on any pretext, and without any 
pretext at all, and in the fighting season a couple 
of males cannot meet without a skirmish. But 
the objects for which they generally fight are two — 
their wives and their homes. That they should 
fight for the possession of the former is not extra- 
ordinary, as there are few animated creatures in a 
wild state who win their mates without a fight, 
and fishes are not exempt from this general law. 

But there are few fishes that possess veritable 
homes like those of the Stickleback. They may 
choose certain portions of the beach for their 
residence, or may take up their position under 
some convenient rook, but the Stickleback is one 
of the few fishes that not only possess a house, 
but build it. 

The nest of this curious little fish is made of vege- 
table fibres, which are woven together with sufficient 
strength to form a definite nest, in which the 
eggs can be deposited. In shape the nest is some- 
thing like a small barrel open at both ends, so that 
the fish can enter at one end and go out by 
the other. It is a small nest, and does not conceal 
the fish that inhabits it ; for as the Stickleback 
lies in its little house, the head projects at one end 
and the tail at the other. 

The reason why the Stickleback is obliged to 
make a nest is simple enough. It is well known 
that there is no food of which fish are so fond as 
the eggs of fish, and that in the case of fishes that 
produce myriads of eggs a very small percentage is 
hatched, and a still smaller reaches an adult age. 
But the Stickleback produces but a few eggs, and 
those of very great comparative size. One Stickle- 
back egg is equal to some twenty or thirty eggs of 


the Codfish, and is particularly liable to be eaten 
by the other inhabitants of the streams, and by 
none more voraciously than by the Sticklebacks 
themselves. If a nest be opened, and the eggs 
thrown singly into the water, the result is most 
amusing, — all the Sticklebacks in the neighbour- 
hood darting to the spot, converging upon the egg, 
and fighting furiously for it. 

It is therefore necessary that the eggs shoidd be 
guarded in some manner, and this is done by 
placing them in the nest, from which the male 
fish never stirs except to procure food and to fight, 
aud in no case does he venture far from his home. 
The females do not titrable themselves about their 
future young, and, indeed, as a number of females 
generally deposit their eggs successively in the 
same nest, it would not be likely that they should 
do so. The male, however, is quite equal to the 
task, and is so very fierce during the time of his 
guardianship, that he will allow nothing to pass 
within the range of his domains without attack- 
ing it. 

When another male happens to approach, there 
is always a combat, each fish trying to force its 
way under the other, so as to inflict a wound with 
its spikes on the unprotected portions of the 
enemy's belly. During the fight, the green, gold, 
and scarlet of the little fishes glow with double 
richness ; and when one of them is beaten and 
driven off, the conqueror seems to increase in 
beauty, while the colours of the vanquished fade 
perceptibly, and in some cases almost wholly vanish. 

The nests of the Stickleback may easily be taken 
from the water by means of a ring net, and placed, 
together with their guardians, in the aquarium. 

On Plate VIII , fig. 8, is a very odd-looking fish 
with a large flattened head, goggle eyes, and a wide 



mouth. This is the little fish that is popularly 
known by the various names of Bull-head, Miller's 
Thumb, and Tommy Logge. Its scientific title is 
Cottus gobio. 

I have selected this little fish because it exem- 
plifies a well-known principle in nature,-— that form 
is always adapted to situation. On looking at the 
fish, we see that its head is very wide and very 
flat, the substance of the head running out at the 
sides in proportion to the flattening above. Now, 
what does this mean 1 Why is the head flat, and, 
being flat, what does the flatness portend 1 

The practical naturalist can answer all these 
questions with ease and certainty, even if he had 
never seen the fish before j if the Bull-head were a 
recently discovered species, he could tell much of 
its habits by only looking at the head. 

He knows that form is always adapted to con- 
ditions. He knows that the Mole, the Eel, the 
Worm, and the Ferret, are all furnished with long, 
slender bodies, because they have to insinuate 
themselves through small apertures. He knows 
that the swift of foot may be known by the 
development of their legs, and the swift of flight 
by that of their wings. The paw or tooth of the 
tiger tells him the rapacious character of its owner ; 
while the wide pillar-like foot of the elephant 
indicates the enormous weight which has to be 
supported on such a basis. 

Now, it is an invariable rule that wherever a cre- 
vice is found, there is also found some flat creature 
that can creep into it. This is exactly the case with 
the Bull-head, which loves to hide under stones — a 
habit for which its wide, flat head renders it par- 
ticularly fit. Consequently, it is chiefly to be found 
in those parts of rivers where the bed is stony, and 
in all such localities it is very sure to be plentiful. 


It is a curiously apathetic fish, though it al- 
ternates intervals of long repose with a few 
moments of swift and energetic action. Generally, 
it lies at the bottom of the river, with its body, or 
at all events its head, concealed under a stone, and 
will remain there so quietly that an unaccustomed 
eye would fail to perceive it, even if the precise 
spot were pointed out. But if the stone be re 
moved, the Bull-head waits for a second or so, as 
if in w-onder at the change, and then darts off with 
a speed and suddenness that seem scarcely com- 
patible with its ordinary sluggish habit. Probably 
it is acquainted with every hiding-place in the 
neighbourhood, as it darts from one place of refuge 
into another with such rapidity that it seems to 
vanish as if by magic, and it is very difficult to tell 
under which particular stone the little fish may 
have taken refuge. 

Closely as it lies, however, it can mostly be 
discovered by a practised eye, which, indeed, can 
see objects which are quite invisible to ordinary 
visions. There is scarcely any animal, however 
cunning, or however well furnished by nature with 
the means of concealment, that can hide itself from 
the experienced hunter ; for the creature has life, 
and life w r ill always betray itself. The animal 
must at least breathe, and even the slight move- 
ment caused by respiration will be seen by these 
who know what to look for. Now, the Bull-head 
betrays itself in a very peculiar manner. It has 
an inveterate habit ot wagging its tail, and even if 
the searcher after the fish cannot see the tail itself, 
he can at least see the current of wafer that is 
caused by the action. 

Just as the flattened head of this fish shows tint 
it is in the habit of lying under stones, so dees its 
long and wide mouth indicate that it is a voracio: is 
h 2 


species, and capable of eating creatures of con- 
siderable comparative size. Its usual food consists 
of worms and various aquatic insects, whether in 
the larval, pupal, or perfect stages of existence. 

It is also a great enemy of the small and helpless 
fry of various fish, and can on occcasion devour 
a fish of considerable size. It has been known to 
catch and devour a Minnow of full size ; and as the 
adult Minnow is really as long as the adult Bull- 
head, the voracity of the fish may be easily 
imagined. As all the voracious fish have a very 
quick digestion, it is possible that the partially 
swallowed fish may be digested gradually, so as to 
allow it to descend by degrees into the insatiable 
stomach of the devourer. 

At fig. 2 of the same plate is the well-known 
Perch (Percajluviatilis), which is the acknowledged 
type of an enormous family of fishes inhabiting both 
the salt and fresh water. 

The owner of an aquarium can scarcely have 
a handsomer fish for his small aquatic world ; 
and every one who sees a living Perch must 
admire the rich green back crossed by its dark 
bands, the golden white belly, and the scarlet 

This is a bold and voracious fish, and will eat 
almost anything that may be given to it ; preferring, 
however, worms, insects, and small fishes. 

One of the most interesting points in the Perch 
is its wonderful egg-ribbon. This curious object is 
sometimes from foui to five feet in length, and if 
carefully examined in water, is seen to be not 
a mere ribbon, but a complete tube. The eggs are 
arranged with beaiitiful regularity ; and, on account 
of their pressure against each other, become rather 
flattened at the points of contact, so as to bear some 
resemblance to a honeycomb. 

FISHES. 101 

As the egg-ribbon is many times the size of the 
fish which laid it, the young observer naturally 
feels puzzled at so curious a fact, and needs expla- 
nation of an apparent impossibility. As long as 
the eggs are contained within the body of the 
parent fish, they are of very small size, and are 
closely packed together. Any one who has seen 
the " hard roe " of a herring or any other fish, will 
at once form a good idea of the size and shape 
of the eggs, and the manner in which they are 

As long as they are contained in the fish, they are 
kept from the water, and retain their shape and 
size, but as soon as they are deposited, and the water 
has free access to them, a very remarkable change 
takes place. Each egg is surrounded with a sort of 
gelatinous envelope, and as soon as the egg- ribbon 
is laid, the gelatinous envelope attracts the water, 
which passes into it by a curious process which 
is technically named " endosmosis," and in con- 
sequence each egg swells to many times its original 
extent. In looking at the egg rather carefully, the 
observer will see that the germ of the egg, which 
was all that was perceptible in the " roe " state, has 
scarcely altered at all in shape or size, but lies in 
the middle of the spherical gelatinous mass with 
which it is surrounded. 

A similar phenomenon takes place with the 
spawn of the frog and toad, and, especially in the 
case of the former animal, produces most singular 
results. Few persons can be made to believe that 
the huge mass of spawn which floats in the ponds 
and ditches can be produced by single frogs ; and 
the general idea is that each such mass is formed 
by a number of frogs which have chosen to lay their 
eggs in the same spot. 

Keep your Perch alive as long as you can, and 


when it dies, make the best use of its body, and 
examine it in detail. You can hardly have a better 
example of the structure of fishes than is found in 
the Perch, which has been chosen by several of the 
most eminent anatomists as affording an excellent 
type of the rarious structures which they wish to 

Examine the wonderful structure of the gills. 
Remove them from the head, place them under 
water, and examine them with a magnifying-glass. 
You will be surprised at the enormous amount of 
surface which they present to the water; and if 
you have a glass of sufficient power, you will be 
able to see on the surface the minute veins and 
ai'teries which bring the blood in contact with the 
oxygen contained in the water, and so enable the 
fish to live. 

There are few objects that cause greater surprise 
to a novice than the gills of a fish when opened out, 
magnified, and explained. 

Perhaps I may spend a few lines on the use of 
this beautiful structure. Every one knows that 
the gills are used for breathing, but it is not every 
one who knows how they are employed. 

The blood of all breathing animals becomes 
deteriorated in its passage through the body, and 
requires to be re-vivified by contact Avith oxygen 
before it is again capable of doing its work. In 
highly organized beings, such as man, the renewal 
must be carried on with great frequency, or death 
soon follows. Tf, for example, the respiration of a 
human being is interrupted but for three minutes, 
death is sure to come, unless potent and scientific 
remedies are used. The heart may still beat, 
and the blood still circulate, but its life-aivinar 
power is gone. In the unvivified condition it ab- 
solutely becomes a poison instead of a vivifier j — 

FISHES. 103 

the brain is paralyzed, giddiness ensues, followed by 
insensibility, and tlien by death. 

In the higher beings, the oxygen which is? con- 
tained in the atmosphere is brought in contact with 
the air in a very beautiful manner, and in the act 
of breathing a very difficult problem is solved. 

How is it possible to allow the atmosphere to 
come in contact with the blood, without permitting 
it to escaj>e from the vessels through which it 

This difficulty is surmounted in a very simple 
manner. A portion of the circulating apparatus is 
so contrived that the vessels are diminished to the 
minutest possible size ; so small, indeed, that there 
is only just room for the globules of the blood to 
pass singly. The walls of the vessels are extremely 
thin and delicate, and are made of a substance 
which allows the passage of air while it retains 
the blood. In the larger vessels, such a structure 
would be impossible, on account of the pressure to 
which the walls are subjected by the volume of 
blood that rushes through them ; but in those parts 
which are exposed to the air, the currents are so 
minute that they exercise comparatively little force, 
and are easily contained within their delicate 

It is, of course, an important point that a very 
large surface should be exposed to the air, and it is 
hardly possible to find a better example than the 
gills of a fish. At first sight they look like a series 
of comb-like organs, scarlet with the blood that is 
seen through their delicate coverings ; but if they 
are closely examined, they will be found to possess 
a most beautiful form, exposing a very large surface, 
and at the same time occupying a very little space. 
Each tooth of the scarlet comb is composed of 
inmtmerable plates of membrane, traversed by tho 


blood-vessels, and admitting the air on both sides. 
In fact the gills remind the observer of the leaves 
of a slightly-bound book, in which a very large 
amount of surface is compressed into a very small 

I have been particular in describing these gills 
because they teach the young observer the real 
action of respiration better than any structure that 
can be found. Moreover, they can easily be 
obtained, and an ordinary magnifying-glass is 
sufficient to exhibit their "wonderful mechanism. 

The manner in -whioh a Perch breathes is 
simple enough. The fish opens its mouth and 
admits a certain quantity of water, just as we 
admit air into our lungs. It then closes its mouth, 
and drives the water out at the gill-covers, causing 
it to wash over the gills in its passage. The 
oxygen contained in the water thus comes in 
contact with the blood, and so the fish manages to 

FISHES. 105 



fishes (continued). 

THE reader will now understand why a fish 
always lies with its head up the stream. By 
so doing it enables the water to pass through its 
gills without any exertion being required. Also, 
the reader will understand why an angler who 
has a strong and heavy fish on his line tries to lead 
it gently down the stream. By so doing he greatly 
hinders, even if he cannot entirely prevent, respi- 
ration, and thus weakens the creature, which 
cannot exert itself without a sufficient supply of 
breath any more than a human being can. Tn 
fact a skilful angler can nearly drown a fish in its 
own element. 

Having looked at the gills, lay the head quite 
open, and look for the brain. You will be quite 
surprised when you see it. It is singularly small 
in proportion to the size of the fish. Not being 
able to procure a Perch in this part of the country, 
I have just opened the head of a Whiting, and find 
that the brain is not larger in proportion to the 
volume of the body than a walnut would be in 
proportion to an ordinary-sized man. In the 
specimen just mentioned the brain is scarcely one- 
third as large as one of the eyes. 

Now lay the fish open from the chin to the middle 
of the body, and you will see what a very small 
space is occupied by the vital organs. No room is 
wanted for the gills, which are disposed of else- 


"where, and the rest of the organs are small and 
simple. Look at the little heart, which lies just- 
under the throat, and which is only composed of 
two cavities, whereas that of the higher animals 
has four. Next, examine the swimming-bladder, 
that curious piece of mechanism which lies just 
under the spine, and which enables the fish to 
rise or sink at pleasure, by compressing the air 
within the swimming-bladder, or allowing it to 

Now look at the scales with which the body is 
covered. Perhaps the reader may wonder how the 
scales grow in exact proportion to the size of the fish. 
If he will examine one of them with the magni- 
fying-glass, he will see that they increase by adding 
new matter at the edges ; so that each scale increases 
exactly in proportion to the growth of its owner. 
The numerous concentric lines on the scales mark 
the growths of successive seasons, just like the rings 
in timber. There is one point in the scales to which 
particular attention should be directed. If you Jay 
the fish on its side, you will see that there is a 
conspicuous narrow line which runs from the gill- 
covers to the tail, and which nearly follows the arch 
of the back. This is called the " lateral line," and 
its shape is of great use in distinguishing one fish 
from another. It is formed in rather a curious 
manner. Each scale of this line is pierced near its 
base with a little hole which corresponds to an 
aperture in the body of the fish. Through this 
aperture is poured that slimy substance with which 
the scales of the fish are covered, and which serves 
as a defence against the water. 

I am urgent for the young observer thus to take 
a fish to pieces, because he will in this manner learn 
more of fishes in an hour or two than he will do by 
many days of mere book-work. 

FISHES. 10? 

In England we value the Perch for two purposes 
only, — namely, for food and for sport. In Lapland, 
however, it has another use, the skin being em- 
ployed in the manufacture of bows. These weapons 
are made of several pieces of wood united together 
by the skin of the Perch. A sufficient number of 
skins are deprived of their scales, and are then 
bound tightly round the bow with birch bark. 
The whole is then boiled for a considerable time ; 
and when the weapon is suffered to dry, the wood 
is firmly united by the perch-skins. 

The young aquarium owner may perhaps be glad 
to learn that this fish can be tamed without any 
difficulty, and that specimens have been rendered so 
docile as to come and take food out of the fingers. 

Next in order comes a fish of which the aqua- 
rium-keeper must needs be very careful. This is 
the Pike, or Jack (Esox Lucius), a fish which has 
aptly been called the Shark of the fresh water. 
And so it is, as far as England is concerned;, 
though there are fresh-water fishes inhabiting 
other countries that are far more shark-like in 
their habits, and even become dangerous to men 
and cattle. (See Plate VIII., fig. 4.) 

The voracity of the Pike is well known, and 
I need hardly mention that if any other fish is 
placed in the same receptacle, the Pike will 
assuredly eat it, if it is not very much too large. 
Even if it be so large that it cannot be all accommo- 
dated at once, the Pike will be happy to swallow 
as much of it as the stomach will hold, and trust 
to the process of digestion for enabling the re- 
mainder to be swallowed by degrees. As to little 
fishes, the Pike will dart at them in a moment, 
seizing them by the middle, carrying them to its 
abode under a stone, or some similar locality, and 
then swallowing them whole. 


It is said that there are two fish which the Pike 
will not touch ; namely, the Perch and the Golden 
Carp, properly called the Gold-fish. The Pike is 
reputed to be afraid of them, the strong prickly 
spines of the Perch deterring him from attacking 
so well-armed a prey. And, in proof of this 
assertion, it is said that if an angler has been 
unsuccessfully attempting to catch a Pike, he can 
mostly succeed by taking a rather small Perch, 
cutting off the prickly fin and using it as bait. 
The Pike seeing that the Perch is defenceless, will 
not lose so excellent an opportunity : he accordingly 
darts at the bait, and is straightway hooked. 

The Gold-fish is said to frighten the Pike by 
reason of its bright scales, with their metallic 
radiance. The voracious fish has never seen any- 
thing of the kind in English waters, and dares not 
attempt the capture. However, I should be very 
sorry to trust either a favourite Perch or Gold- 
fish in the same aquarium with a hungry Pike, 
especially if the latter were much superior in size. 
Indeed, the Pike has been known to swallow a 
Gold-fish under such circumstances, much to the 
astonishment of the owner, who had previously 
held the opinion that the two creatures could live 
as safely together as a couple of lambs. 

The Pike will eat its own kind quite as freely as 
any other fish, and if possible, seems even to prefer 
a little cannibalism. Many experienced anglers 
have narrated instances where Pike of some pounds 
weight have been found in the interior of larger 
fish of their own species. 

The Carp (Plate VIII., fig. 3) is not very often 
kept in aquaria, its place being easily supplied by 
the Gold and Silver Carp brought from China. 
However, even our own fish is well worth keeping, as 
in a good specimen the large broad scales are tinged 

FISHES. 109 

with a golden hue that shows out well in the water. 
It is a hardy fish, and as it is able to live for a 
considerable time out of water, provided that its 
gills be kept moist, it can be removed from place 
to place if wrapt carefully in wet moss. Indeed, 
in some parts of Europe, Carp are fattened for the 
table by being kept in nets filled with wet leaves, 
and being constantly fed with a paste made of bread 
and milk. 

One of the handsomest of British fresh-water 
fishes is the common Trout (Plate VIII., fig. 1), 
whose crimson-spotted sides always excite great 
admiration. It is not nearly so hardy a fish as the 
Carp, and requires considerable care to preserve it 
in good health. It can be fed with worms, little 
minnows, or even with large fish, if it be of any 

The Eel is always welcome to the aquarium- 
keeper, as being well adapted for living in so small 
a house. I have kept many of them, and have 
often wished that other fish gave as little trouble. 
(See Plate VIII., fig. 7.) 

One, in particular, about six inches in length, I 
kept for some seven or eight months in a common 
Gold-fish globe. It was perfectly healthy, and 
occasionally extremely lively, undulating its way 
through the water with an easy grace that belongs 
to no other creature. Although in perfect health, 
it did not appear to grow ; at all events, the in- 
crease in size was so trifling that it was hardly 
perceptible. Why such should have been the case, 
I do not know, as it took food, and appeared well 
contented with its situation. At the end of that 
time, I transferred the fish to the fountain of one 
of ouv largest hospitals, and never saw it more. 

A large Eel is, of course, useless in an aquarium, 
chiefly because it takes up so much space ; but a 


small one is a pretty creature, and is besides useful 
in exhibiting a curious anatomical structure. Take 
a little Eel, and wrap it up in a wet cloth, only 
allowing a little piece of the tail to appear. Now, 
lay the tail on a flat piece of glass, cover it with 
water, and examine it by means of a microscope. 
In default of an elaborate instrument, a common 
magnifying-glass will answer the purpose. A 
pulsating vessel will then be seen at the end of the 
tail, beating as regularly as the heart, and evidently 
acting in that capacity towards the liquid in which 
it acts. 

While we are on the subject of the Eel, I will 
make a few remarks on the origin and spread of 
the fish. 

Until within the last few years, the wildest and 
most contradictory ideas were prevalent regarding 
the origin of the Eel. That the Eel deposited eggs 
like other fishes was discredited, because no one 
had been able to find any roe at any period of the 
year. A curious variety of theories were then set 
afloat. The most popular was, that the Eels were 
originally hairs from the tails of horses. These fell 
into the water when the horses came to drink, and 
by dint of long soaking became endowed with life, 
and turned into worms of the same shape as the 
original hair. As these worms grew, they assumed 
a head at one end and a tail at the other, fins grew 
in the proper places, and by degrees they became 
genuine Eels. 

This theory sounds absurd enough, but it is 
really not worse than many others. In almost all 
of them the " Hair-Eel " is accepted as the origin 
of the real fish, though the origin of the Hair-Eel 
seems to be as ill-understood a problem as that 
which it is intended to replace. The Hair-Eel, or 
Hair-worm, in reality belongs to the great tribe of 


worms, and is scientifically known by the name of 
Gordius aqujxticus. Its first, or generic name, is 
given to it because it twists its long and slender 
body into folds as complicated as those of the cele- 
brated Gordian knot, and its second, or specific 
name, is earned by its habit of living in water. It 
may often be found in pools and sometimes even in 
puddles, gathered together in a small compass, and 
being so long, so hard, and so slender that we really 
cannot wonder that the ignorant rustics believe it 
to be an animated horse-hair. There is another 
locality where the Gordius may be also found, 
though few would look for it in such a place. 
Every one is familiar with the black, shining, active 
beetles that are so plentiful in the country during 
the summer months. Several species of these 
beetles become the home of the Gordius, which 
lives in the interior and packs itself up quite 
wonderfully in so small a space. I well recollect 
my surprise at finding out this fact. Shortly after 
my introduction into entomology, I took some of 
these beetles, and put them into spirits of wine for 
the purpose of preserving them. My astonishment 
was very great, when I saw a Gordius issue from 
one of the beetles, and protrude itself to a consi- 
derable length. The spirit was so fatal in its effects 
that the Gordius could not extricate itself entirely, 
but died when partly in and partly out of the 

The creature frequently issues from the beetle in 
water, whither a kind of instinct seems to drive 
the insect ; and this is the reason why a puddle 
which was only caused by recent rain, will some- 
times harbour one or two of these ciirious worms. 
On this fact, so well known to naturalists, a theory 
has been founded, and even promulgated in type, 
to the effect that the Eel was originally the 


intestine of the beetle, which became animated 
when the insect died, then turned into a hair-worm, 
and thence was developed into an Eel. And as a 
proof of the truth of the theory, this familiar fact 
was cited that Eels are found in ponds where no 
such fish existed a week or two ago. 

Now, every fisherman knows that Eels, like 
many other fish, have the power of sustaining life 
for a long time after they have been taken out of 
the water, and also, that their peculiar serpentine 
movements enable them to travel over land for 
considerable distances, especially if the ground be 
wet ; I have even found them crawling up a 
perpendicular rock, and caught several specimens 
while they were actually working their way along 
a stone that overhung the water. They seemed to be 
held to the stone by the pressure of the atmosphere, 
just as a piece of wet paper will stick to the wall. 

All the previously -mentioned theories, together 
with many others, are now exploded by the power 
of the microscope, which has discovered that the 
Eel has spawn like that of other fishes, only that 
the ejjacs are of verv minute dimensions. The so- 
called " fat " of the Eel is really the spawn, or roe, 
the individual eggs being too small to be distin- 
guished by the naked eye, though they are easily 
detected by the microscope. 

Our last example of the fresh-water fishes is 
the Lampern, or River Lamprey (Petromyzon 

This curious little creature is closely related to 
iihe well-known Lamprey of the sea, but it is not 
known to leave the river for the ocean. In some 
rivers of England it is exceedingly plentiful, and 
may be seen wriggling its way up the stream, or 
clustering in thick masses upon the stones of the 
river-bed, sometimes being so numerous as to look 



like great bunches of loose weeds. To these stones 
the Lampern adheres by means of the mouth, which 
is made precisely on the same principle as that of 
the leech, the circular lip forming a sucker from 
which the air is exhausted. Within the lips are 

The Lampern. 

teeth, whose points curve towards the centre of the 
mouth ; so that by moving the jaw within the lips, 
any soft substance can be bitten into and scraped 

The ordinary food of the Lampern is said to 
consist of aquatic insects and worms, and the flesh 
of dead fish. But within the last few yeai*s several 
letters have been sent to the various journals which 
treat on Natural History, stating that the creature 
had been observed in the act of attacking living 
fish, and gnawing circular holes in their bodies. 
Even the Salmon has been hooked with the 
Lampern attached to its body, the fish having 
already scooped a shallow hole corresponding Avith 
the size of its mouth. 

This sucker-like mouth is also used for another 
purpose, — namely, the formation of convenient 
beds in which the eggs can be deposited. It is 
very interesting to watch the fish engaged in this 
process. Having fixed upon a suitable spot, it 



will affix itself to a stone, and then swim back- 
wards down the stream, pulling the stone after it, 
and making the most extraordinary evolutions in 
effecting its purpose. After dragging the stone for 
a yard or two, the Lampern drops it, and then 
returns for another stone. In this manner it 
proceeds until it has scooped a shallow hole some 
eighteen inches in diameter. 

ISTow let us examine some of the leading charac- 
teristics of this CTirious fish. 

The Lampern has no gill-covers* but the water 
obtains access and egress in a very peculiar manner. 
While it is adhering to a stone, the mouth is closed, 
so that no water can pass to the gills. But it is 
quite independent of its mouth for respiration, for 
on the top of the head there is a small round hole 
which leads to the breathing organs, and which 
admits the water to the gills. It obtains exit by 
means of seven circular holes at each side. In 
consequence of this structure, the fish is in some 
places called the Seven-eyes, and in others the 
Nine-eyes, the latter name being derived from the 
seven breathing apertures on each side, the real eye, 
and the aperture on the head, which is reckoned 
twice over, once for each side. 

The flesh of the Lampern is excellent, and is 
as good as that of the Eel, though in many places 
there is a violent prejudice against it. Its chief 
use in this country is for bait, the Tnrbot and Cod 
being easily attracted by it. 

Before concluding this account of the fishes, I 
should like to mention a fresh-water aquarium of a 
singular character. 

One of my friends, who lives in one of the 
densest parts of London, takes his guests into a 
little back room, where, to all appearance, the 
inmates are partly under water, as if in a diving- 

FISHES. 115 

bell. There is only one window to the room, and 
that window is apparently the only means of" 
keeping the water out. Through the panes are 
seen fish swimming about at their ease, sometimes 
sailing steadily along, and sometimes putting their 
noses against the window, as if trying to enter the 
room ; aquatic plants are waving their flexible 
leafage in the water, while many other inhabitants 
of the river are flitting about as confusedly as if in 
their native haunts. In the middle is a fountain,, 
which throws jets of water high into the air, while, 
as the spectator directs his gaze upwards, he seems 
to be looking into a nymph's cavern, rich with 
shells, stalactites, and glittering crystals, and lighted 
from above by the blue sky. 

How this curious and beautiful effect can be- 
produced, is not easily seen until the inventor 
throws up the window. As he lays his hand on 
the sash, the spectator is rather startled, because, 
to all appearance, the glass panes form the barriers 
against the water. However, the sash glides up 
easily, and the water does not come in. A closer 
view betrays the deception, which is really an 
ingenious as well as a pretty one. The aquarium 
is built just outside the window', and is about 
eighteen inches wider on either side. Both sides 
and the back are made of brick and slate, well 
cemented, while the front is of a single sheet of 
plate glass which is close behind the window panes, 
and is not seen when the sash is down. The tank 
is, of course, a very large one, and the back being 
about six feet high, and skilfully modelled into the 
semblance of a rocky cavern flooded with water, 
the whole arrangement gives the room a most 
unique appearance, because the inmates seem to 
be inhabitants of the cavern, and to be looking 
through the water at the sky. 

i 2 




NEXT in order we come to the Fresh-water 
Molluscs, of which we shall give but a few- 
familiar examples. 

Tn the first place the bivalve molluscs are of very 
little use in an aquarium, and are so apt to die and 
damage the water that they are not recommended. 
Of course, if the observer wishes to watch their 
habits, he can place some bivalves in separate ves- 
sels, but it is always a hazardous experiment to 
allow them to be in the same aquarium with other 

We will take in regular succession the shells 
which are given in Plate IX. 

Fig. 5 represents the pretty shell called Bithynia 
lentaculata. This shell is plentiful in our ditches, 
canals, and slow-running streams. 

The reason why it is here introduced is, the 
curious and interesting manner in which it deposits 
its eggs. 

It begins by looking out some smooth surface, 
such as the stem of a plant, a stone, or even a 
submerged leaf. The next process is to clean the 
surface very carefully with its mouth, and then to 
deposit an egg upon the cleaned spot. A fresh 
space is next prepared, another egg deposited, and 
so the creature continues to act until it has laid all 
its eggs. 


Sometimes there are sixty or seventy of these 
eggs, which are globular in shape, and look as if 
they were little shot made of some gelatinous sub- 
stance. They are arranged very carefully in regular 
rows, and the process of laying and fixing them 
occupies several days. As those molluscs are apt 
to affix their egg-bands to the glass of the aquarium, 
the magnifying glass can be used to great advantage, 
and even a micx-oscope of moderate power — say 
half-inch focus — can be applied to them successfully, 
so as to observe the gradual development of the 

The eggs are laid throughout the whole summer, 
from May to August, so that the observer will 
have many opportunities of watching the eggs and 
the mode in which they are hatched. The shell is 
represented of the natural ske. Its colour is like 
that of horn. 

At fig. 2, Plate IX., is seen a figure of a very 
common fresh-water mollusc, which the reader will 
probably recognise as soon as he sees it. This is 
the familiar water-snail, Paludina vivipara. This 
species is also shown of the natural size. 

Closely resembling the preceding mollusc in 
many of its characteristics, it has one essential 
point of difference ; namely, that the young are 
hatched before they are sent into their watery 
world. There are about twenty or thirty of the 
young, and they are retained within parental pro- 
tection until they have been hatched for two 
months at least, and have become able to find then- 
own nutriment. 

When they issue from the protecting shell, they 
do not make a simultaneous move, but issue forth 
one at a time, and so deliberately, that in the 
course of a whole day only three or four will have 


This shell is very plentiful in the southern parts 
of England. The Cherwell is thickly populated 
"with Paludinse, and within a few miles of its 
junction with the Isis at Oxford, there are favourite 
spots where almost any munber of them may be 
procured. They specially seem to affect little bays, 
where the water is comparatively still, especially if 
it should happen to be protected by reeds, flags, 
and other aquatic plants. The still water just above 
" lashers " is almost always a favourite spot with 
Paludinse, and in the little quiet nooks and covers of 
such places, the molluscs are sure to be found. 

The colour of the shell is brownish-green, bounded 
spirally with deep reddish-brown. 

"We now come to the flat shell seen at fig. 1, 
Plate IX. This shell instantly reminds the 
•observer of that familiar firework called "Catharine 
"Wheel," and indeed, if this shell were charged with 
the proper mixture, and a pin run through its 
centre, it would probably revolve and throw out 
its showers of sparks as well as if it had been made 
especially for the purpose. Of course, it would be 
but small, and its effect would correspond to its 
size, but it would certainly produce a revolving 
shower of sparks. 

This shell is known by the name of Planorhis 
vortex, and belongs to a genus which is rather 
widely represented in England, a goodly number of 
British species being acknowledged. Some of them 
are exceedingly small, the largest examples not 
exceeding the eighth of an inch in diameter, while 
others measure as much as an inch in diameter. 
The species which has been selected as our example 
is very flat indeed, and is about one-third of an 
inch in diameter. The substance of the shell is 
thin and horny, and its colour corresponds with its 


At fig. 6, Plate IX., is seen the shell of another 
common fresh- water snail, called Limnceus stagnalis. 

This elegantly-formed shell is to he ftnmd in 
similar localities to those which have been already 
mentioned, and is quite as plentiful. 

The genus to which this mollusc belongs is a 
tolerably large one, and six or seven species are 
known to inhabit England. 

The eggs of these molluscs are placed close 
together, and are attached to stones or aquatic 
plants, but they are not like those of the Bithynia. 
They are more in number, and they are collected 
in elliptical masses of a gelatinous substance, which 
is protected by a delicate membranous envelope. 
Although these egg-masses cannot be so favourably 
viewed with the microscope as those of the Bithynia, 
they can be easily removed from the object to which 
they adhere, so as to be brought within the range 
of the magnifying-glass. Like others belonging to 
the same genus, this species is rather variable both 
in colour and in form. Generally, however, its 
shell is horn-coloured, and the length is about an 
inch and a half. 

Our last example of these molluscs is the curious 
species which is called the Fresh-water Limpet, 
Ancylus fluviatilis. That it does not really belong- 
to the Limpets need scarcely be mentioned, for 
although in the general shape of its shell it bears a 
strong resemblance to some of the marine Limpets, 
it is closely allied to the molluscs which have just 
been mentioned. 

It is a pretty little creature, and is always an 
ornamental addition to the fresh-water aquarium. 
The general shape of the shell can be seen by 
reference to fig. 3, Plate IX. ; but specimens as large 
as the figure are not often found, its length scarcely 
•exceeding a quarter of an inch. 


Owing to the small dimensions and inconspicuous 
colour of the shells, this species often escapes ob- 
servation in places where it is really abundant, the 
least ripple on the surface of the water being 
sufficient to conceal it from an inexperienced 

It is sometimes found adherent to the stems and 
leaves of aquatic plants, and in such cases can be 
easily seen ; but as it prefers to fix itself to stones 
at the bottom of the river, and as the shell is nearly 
of the same colour as an ordinary stone, it looks 
more like an excrescence than a shell. 

There is another species which is still smaller, 
but which prefers submerged plants to stones. It 
can readily be distinguished from the preceding 
molluscs by the position of the apex. In Ancylus 
fluviatilis the apex is directed to the right, while 
in Ancylus dblongus, as the second species is termed, 
it is directed towards the left. 

At figs. 9 and 10 on the same plate are shown 
two remarkable objects, one of them looking some- 
thing like a sponge, and the other resembling a slug- 
covered with flowers. Both of these objects are 
allied to the molluscs, and belong to the curious 
group of animals called Polyzoa, because they con- 
sist of a number of separate animals massed together, 
and connected with each other. Although the sea 
is incomparably rich in Polyzoa, fresh water has 
many species, and two examples are here given as 
types of the whole group. 

In lakes, ponds, and in still places in rivers, may 
be seen masses of a brownish-yellow hue, adhering 
to varkras substances, and especially to submerged 
wood. These masses have a great resemblance to 
sponge, and therefore go by the familiar name of 
Fresh-water Sponge. When dead and dry, they 
are even more sponge-like than when they are alive 


and full of moisture ; but they really have no con- 
nection -with the true sponges, being placed higher 
in the scale of creation than the crabs, insects, 
spiders, worms, &c. We will, however, use the 
popular word when talking of them. Several 
species of these curious beings are known in 
England, but we will content ourselves with that 
which has been mentioned. 

The genei-al appearance of the Fresh-water Sponge 
can be seen by reference to fig. 9, which represents 
a small specimen attached to a twig. The pendent 
twigs of trees which grow by the water-side, and 
allow their twigs to droop below the surface, are 
common resting-places of this creature, which some- 
times covers all the twigs with its members, just- 
as the oysters cluster on the submerged mangrove- 
boughs in the West Indies. 

When it is undisturbed, its lower surface is seen 
to be covered with a delicate downy film of whitish 
colour; but if it should be touched, the film vanishes 
in a moment, leaving the lower surface exposed. 

The apparent film is in reality an aggregation of 
the animals of which the sponge is composed, and 
if the aquarium-keeper can manage to place a little 
piece under the microscope while it is in full vigour., 
he will see a beautiful sight. 

The whole of the surface is then seen to be 
thickly studded with little holes, from each of which 
projects a sort of gelatinous bell, with its edges 
covered with delicate tentacles, and resembling 
those which are drawn at fig. 10. These little 
objects are the inhabitants and architects of the 
sponge, and are closely allied to those which inhabit 
the Sea-mats, the Dead-man's Finger, and other 
marine polyzoa. 

By means of the tentacles, the tiny animals 
arrest any floating particle which serves for food, , 


and although they seem to be devoid of all organs 
of sense, they can take alarm at the approach of 
any object, and in a moment all the pretty bells 
with their curious heads will retreat into the 
interior of the sponge, vanishing as if by magic. 

Then, if the observer can manage to cut the 
sponge in two directions, namely, at right angles to 
the holes into which the animals have vanished, 
and also parallel with them, he will see that the 
whole of the apparent sponge is composed of tubes 
lying by the side of each other, and forming places 
of refuge into which the creatures can retreat. 
Indeed, when placed under a microscope, they bear 
a tolerably close resemblance to the aggregated 
tubes of the Sabella, which has already been de- 

The scientific name of this Fresh-water Sponge 
is Alcyonetta fungosa, the latter term being given 
to it, because its brown masses might easily be 
mistaken for submerged fungi. 

At fig. 10 is seen a curious object hanging over 
a stick, and having its back covered with flower- 
like protuberances. This is the Cristatella mucedo, 
one of the most singular beings that England, or, 
indeed, any country, produces, and which should 
be welcomed as a valuable and interesting adjunct 
to the aquarium. 

The example shown in the illustration is a rather 
larger specimen than is generally found, the usual 
length being about an inch. It looks much as if it 
had been made of soft, woolly silk, and at first 
sight bears a kind of resemblance to one of the 
long-haired caterpillars that had been flattened by 

The strange point in this creature is, that it is 
locomotive, and can crawl along with a steady and 
slow motion. How it manages to crawl is really a 


wonder. If it were a single animal, there would 
be no mystery about it ; but the reader must 
remember that it is an aggregation of separate 
animals, each distinct in itself, though preserving 
& connection with all the others. 

To all appearances, these delicate bell-like animals 
have no particular organs of sensation, and their 
tentacles are merely outspread as nets wherein may 
be entangled any particles of food that may happen 
to float against them. But the animals cannot see 
their food, neither can they direct their tentacles 
towards it ; and it seems almost incredible that 
beings thus constituted should have any power of 
concerted action. Yet, that such is the case is 
evident from, the fact that the aggregated mass is 
able to crawl about ; for, unless the multitudinous 
animals agreed to move consentaneously, the entire 
mass would remain still. 

Some persons have said that there is really no 
-concerted action, but that the movement is simply 
involuntary, like the action of the heart in the 
higher animals, and tbat it does not imply any 
consciousness on the part of the Cristatella. 

Now, if the movement were always in one 
direction, or if the compound animal were to 
wander about in a purposeless manner, there might 
be some grounds for such a supposition. But, in 
fact, the Cristatella does clearly choose the direction 
in which it goes, inasmuch as it shuns the dark 
and shady places, and loves to crawl in shallow 
water, where it can enjoy the light and heat of the 

Whatever- may be the impelling motive, the 
oi-gan of movement in the Cristatella is evident 
enough. It consists of the base of the compound 
animal, which is flattened, very contractile, and is 
used much as the foot of a gasteropodous mollusc. 


The Crustacea which inhabit the fresh water can 
but have a brief notice in these pages. 

The largest and finest of the Fresh-water Crus- 
tacea — namely, the common Crayfish, cannot 
conveniently be kept in an aquarium, as it is 
too bulky for such limited space, and is, besides, so 
voracious that it would devour every other animal 
in the tank. It can be kept for some time in a 
separate vessel, but is always a troublesome creature 
to manage, as I can testify from much experience. 
As to the Shrimps and Prawns, several species of 
them make their way up tidal rivers, and penetrate 
so far inland that they only taste salt water at high 
tides. Any number of shrimps, prawns, and crabs 
can be taken in the Thames, near Woolwich ; but 
still, they are not strictly denizens of the fresh 
water, being only stragglers from the sea. 

There are, however, some fresh-water Crustacea 
which are small enough for the aquarium ; and we 
will take as our typical example the common 
Fresh-water Shrimp, shown at Plate VII., figs. 
7 and 8. 

In general structure the Fresh-water Shrimp 
bears some resemblance to the common Sand- 
hopper, to which, indeed, it is closely allied, and 
its movements in water increase the similitude. 

Fresh-water Shrimps may be found plentifully in 
almost every streamlet or ditch, provided that the 
water be tolerably clear. They act much like the 
lish in their habit of keeping their heads up the 
stream, and in their general conduct look something- 
like the fry of various fish. Sometimes they make 
their way up the stream by clinging to the stones 
and other objects that form the bed of the stream, 
making quick darts forward, and then holding 
tightly to a stone until they choose to make a 
second dash onwards. 


When they have gone up the stream as far as 
they think proper, they loosen their hold and come 
drifting back again, sometimes rolling over and 
over, but generally contriving to keep their heads 
pointing up the stream. In fact, they appear to amuse 
themselves by this action, just as the gnats amuse 
themselves by dancing up and down in the air. 

The food of the Fresh-water Shi-imp is usually 
decaying animal matter, and it can be attracted by 
sinking a piece of half-putrid flesh in the water. 
When it is not engaged in active exertion, it retires 
to some little crevice at the side of the stream, 
whence, however, it keeps a careful watch, so as to 
be able to dart out in a moment as soon as it sees 
anything floating past which looks as if it might be 

When removed from the water, the little crus- 
tacean is quite helpless, lying on its side, and 
merely spinning round and round in its struggles, 
— a habit which has gained for it the title of 
Fresh-water Screw. Its scientific name is Gam- 
marus pulex. 

As for all the great tribes of the Entomos- 
traca, I do not enter upon them here, as they 
are mostly exceedingly minute, and require too 
much special attention to be placed in an ordinary 
aquarium. Some specimens will most certainly be 
found therein, and if the young observer wishes to 
watch them, he should take them out and place 
them in a vessel by themselves. One or two species 
will be briefly mentioned in a future page. 

The best way of removing them is by means of 
a piece of glass tube. 

Take the tube and press the forefinger lightly 
upon the top, so as to exclude the air. Then push 
it into the water just above the animal to be 
captured. Remove the finger suddenly, and the 


water will rush up into the tube, carrying the 
creature with it. Heplace the finger, and the 
animal can then be removed in the tube, and so 
transferred to the proper vessel. 

On Plate VII., fig. 3, may be seen a very inte- 
resting creature, and one that is a great favourite 
in aquaria. This is the common "Water Spider, 
known scientifically as Argyronetra aquatica. 

The Water Spider is remarkable for its custom 
of spending the greater part of its time under the 
surface of the water, only ascending to the upper 
regions for the sake of catching prey, or obtaining 
a fresh supply of air for its subaquatic home. The 
manner in which it makes its nest and supplies it 
with air is singularly interesting. 

Like all other similar creatures, it can exist for 
a considerable time without needing to breathe. 
It begins by crawling down the stem of some 
aquatic plant, there spinning a closely-woven and 
dish-like web. It then ascends to the surface, 
protruding the end of the abdomen, and, with a 
quick jerk, seizes a bubble of air and instantly 
dives. This bubble is partly retained by the thick 
coating of grey hair with which its body is covered, 
and partly by the hinder pair of legs, which are 
crossed, and serve to hold it in its place. 

As the spider descends, the bubble shines as if 
it were polished silver, and the look of the creature 
is really pretty. As soon as it has reached its 
web, it crawls underneath it, uncrosses its legs, 
and thus releases the air-bubble, which is caught 
under the web and buoys it upward. The spider 
then enlarges the web by adding to its edges, and 
as fast as she enlarges it, she ascends to the surface 
and brings down fresh supplies of air. 

In order to guide itself in its ascent and descent, 
it makes use of a thread, one end of which n 


attached to the nest, and the other to some object 
on the surface. 

The completed nest or cell is about half the size 
of an acorn, and much of the same shape. Within 
it the Water Spider passes the chief portion of its 
life. Within it the eggs are laid, some hundreds 
in number, enclosed in a separate cell and fastened 
to the upper part of the nest. Within it the 
young are hatched, and swarm over it, a crowd of 
little black dots soon to expand into full-blown 
Water Spiders. Within it the Spider takes its 
meals. It leaves the nest in order to catch prey ; 
but as soon as it has done so, it returns to the cell, 
and there consumes its unfortunate victim. While 
at rest the Water Spider always remains in its cell 
with the head downwards, after the manner 
familiarized to us by the common spider of our 

In taking leave of this curious, interesting 
creature, I venture to offer a few words of advice. 
Catch it if possible, and keep it for the purpose of 
Avatching its proceedings. Supply it plentifully 
with food, and place it, as far as can be done, in 
the same condition which would have surrounded 
it in its normal state. But, after having carefully 
noticed all its doings, and so carried out the object 
for which it was caught, take it to some suitable 
piece of water and set it at liberty. If it is kept 
in an aquarium, it can scarcely live its full life, 
and cannot live a happy life. Shorten, therefore, 
the term of its captivity as much as possible, and 
as soon as its purpose is served, set it free. 




WE will complete this work by a brief notice of 
the few out of the many insects that are 
suitable for the fresh-water aquarium. 

It must be well understood, however, that all 
these insects are not supposed to exist at one time 
in a single aquarium, for the very good reason that 
the number of inhabitants which a limited amount 
of water can properly hold is very small indeed, 
and that it is always better to understock the 
aquarium than to run the least risk of crowding- 

Our list begins with tbe Water-Beetles, of which 
the Great Water-Beetle (Dyticus marginalis) takes 
the first place. This fierce and voracious insect, 
which is shown at Plate X., fig. 7, is very plentiful 
in ponds and ditches, and may be found in all its 
stages of development. 

The larva, which is shown at Plate IX., fig. 12, 
is a formidable-looking creature, attaining the 
length of two inches, and being proportionately 
stout. It is armed with a pair of sickle-like jaws, 
with which it captures other insects. These man- 
dibles are hollow, like the fangs of venomous 
serpents, and have near their extremity a little 
aperture through which the insect sucks the juices 
of its prey. As soon as the larva seizes any 
unfortunate insect, it bends itself backwards so 
forcibly that the head nearly rests upon its back, 


and in this position it remains until it has finished 
its repast. 

The reader will see that at the end of the tail 
there is a brush-like appendage. This structure is a 
promulgation of the breathing-vessels, and enables 
the larva to breathe atmospheric air by thrusting 
them above the surface. It often hangs suspended, 
as it were, in the water, the head being below, and 
the breathing appendage on the surface. 

When it has finished its growth, it burrows into 
the earth and makes a rounded cocoon, in the 
interior of which it undergoes its transformation, 
first in the pupal form, and next in its perfect 

In its beetle form it is quite as fierce, quite as 
voracious, and far more active than it was in its 
imperfect stages of existence. It can swim faster 
than it could when in the larval state, and can 
kill and eat insects and other creatures far larger 
than itself. Even the fishes are not safe from its 
powerful jaws, and the beetle has a habit of diving 
quietly under them and biting out a piece of flesh 
from the softer part of the abdomen. 

Moreover, it is gifted 
with a pair of large and 
powerful wings, by means 
of which it can transport 
itself from one piece of 
water to another. Those, 
therefore, who keep this in- 
sect in the aquarium must 
be careful to cover the vessel, 
or the beetle will be sure to 
escape if the opening be left 
unprotected. Foot °J ^ ticu °- 

The young naturalist should be careful to 
examine the fore legs of this beetle. If it should 


happen to be a male one, the joints of the fore feet 
will be seen to be expanded into a most curious 
apparatus of suckers. Even to the naked eye, 
this structure is a very interesting one; but its 
full beauty cannot be appreciated until it is ex- 
amined by means of a microscope. The best mode 
of seeing it properly is to prepare one specimen 
with Canada balsam, after the usual manner, and 
to keep a second specimen which can be viewed as 
an opaque object. 

Only one of these beetles can be kept in a single 
"vessel, or it will kill and eat every other inhabitant 
of the aquarium ; and if a second specimen be 
placed in the same vessel, they will fight until the 
weaker is killed and eaten by the stronger. 

Another common water-beetle is that which is 
known by the name of Acilius sulcatus, a figure of 
which may be seen in Plate X. The larva of this 
insect is shown in Plate IX., fig. 7, and, as maybe 
seen, bears a considerable resemblance to that of 
the Dyticus. It may, however, be distinguished, 
not only by its smaller size, but by the great 
length of the first segment of the body, which is so 
elongated as to look like a neck. The body, too, 
is much smoother than that of the Dyticus. 

The long, slender body is very flexible, so as to 
give it avery snake-like aspect, which is strengthened 
by the mode in which it takes its prey. When it 
wishes to feed, it swims very quietly under its 
victim, and then grasps it firmly in the sharp jaws, 
and drags i*" under water. 

In its perfect state it is as active as the Dyticus, 
and has the power of producing a loud humming- 
sound. It can fly as well as that insect ; and if it 
happens to fall on its back, has a way of regaining 
its feet by leaping into the air, just as is done by 
the well-known Skip-jack Beetles. 


On Plate IX., fig. 4, may be seen the larva of 
an allied genus called Colymbetes ; and the perfect 
insect may be seen in Plate X., fig. 3. This beetle 
is very strong on the wing, and has been known 
to fly its rounds at night, attracted by the light of 
a lamp. 

All these beetles, although mostly found in the 
water, are quite independent of that element, 
and are forced to breathe atmospheric air. They 
procure the air by rising to the surface of the water 
and protruding the end of the body. A quantity 
of air is then taken into the space between the 
body and the elytra, or wing-cases, and on this 
supply the insect is able to support respiration for 
a considerable time, when it is again obliged to re- 
turn to the surface and take in a fresh supply of air. 

On account of the necessity for respiration, this 
insect can easily be discovered, as the observer 
has only to watch by a pool or ditch for a few 
minutes, when if any of these beetles inhabit the 
water, some of them are sure to come to the sur- 
face, rapidly take in the needful air, and dive again 
to the bottom. 

At fig. 5 on Plate X. may be seen a figure of a 
little beetle which is popularly known as the 
Whirlwig, and scientifically as Gyrinus, both 
names having a similar signification. 

There are several species of this genus, and they 
may be at once recognized by their habit of swim, 
ming about on the surface of the water, whirling 
about in their mazy dance with wonderful swiftness ; 
and being very fond of company, it is very seldom 
•that a solitary Whirlwig Beetle is found, and as a 
general rule they are gathered together in little 
companies of twenty or thirty in number. 

Like the other water-beetles which have been 
mentioned, the Whirlwig has a pair of large wings, 
k 2 


by means of which it can fly to considerable dis- 
tances. The chief use of these wings is to transport 
it from place to place, in case the pond or puddle 
in which it lived should be dried up by the summer 

The Whirlwig is a good insect for an aquarium, 
if it can only be kept alive, as it keeps up its merry 
gyrations throughout the year, and even in the 
winter time little companies of these pretty beetles 
may be seen in sheltered spots whirling about as 
briskly as in the middle of summer. When Whirl- 
wigs are placed in an aquarium, the observer should 
be careful to look at the eyes, which are so formed 
that the insect can with equal ease see objects 
below and above it. 

The very remarkable larva of the Whirlwig is 
shown on Plate IX., fig. 11 ; the figure being, of 
course, much enlarged. The chief peculiarity in 
its form is to be found in the numerous projections 
from the sides. These projections are transparent, 
and are connected with the organs of respiration, a 
delicate air-vessel traversing each of them, and 
being connected with the larger vessels within the 

As soon as the larva has completed its growth, 
it crawls up the stem of some aquatic plant, and 
spins a greyish cocoon, in which it remains until it 
has attained the perfect state. 

There is a large beetle much resembling in shape 
and general appearance the Dyticus, but which 
attains a greater size, and may be recognized by its 
black colour, and the coating of silvery- white down 
upon its under surface. This is called Hydrophilus 
piceus, and is shown at fig. 2 on Plate X. 

The larva is drawn on Plate IX., fig. 8, and is 
much like that of Dyticus, but it may easily be 
distinguished by the appendages to the abdomen, 


which are short and threadlike instead of being 
broad and hairy. The upper side of the head too 
is flat, and the under convex. The jaws are not 
as sickle-shaped as those of the Dyticus, and are 
each armed with a tooth near the middle. Its 
grub grows to a considerable size, often reaching 
three inches in length, and being more stout in 
proportion than that of the Dyticus. The larva 
attains its full growth towards the end of summer, 
when it leaves the water, and forms a burrow in 
the earth, in the end of which it forms an oval 
cocoon. In spite of its large size, it does not 
occupy quite four months in passing through the 
whole of its changes, and, according to Mr. West- 
wood, it spends about sixty days in its larval state, 
and thirty in the cocoon. 

If possible, the aquarium-keeper should procure 
a female Hydrophilus, for the sake of watching the 
remarkable manner in which it lays its eggs. In- 
stead of depositing them singly, it arranges them, 
some sixty or so in number, symmetrically together, 
and spins around them a kind of cocoon, formed of 
fine white silk within, and covered with a gummy 
secretion, which is impervious to water. 

The cocoon is shaped somewhat like a small 
turnip, and has a sharp point, which coincides with 
the root of that vegetable. It is fastened to some 
water-plant, and when the eggs are hatched the 
little grubs escape through the bottom of the cocoon. 
About five or six weeks generally elapse before 
the eggs are hatched, and the larvae change their 
skins three times before assuming the perfect con- 

This is a very excellent insect for the aquarium, 
as it is neither so fierce nor so voracious as the Dy- 
ticus, feeding chiefly upon aquatic plants, and only 
eating animal food at intervals. Consequently, 


there is little danger in keeping several specimens, 
of Hydrophilus in an aquarium, though if a single 
Dyticus be placed among them, it will certainly 
attack and kill them. 

Tbe little figure on Plate X., namely fig. 6 r 
represents the last water-beetle which will be 
mentioned in this work. Its name is Helophorus 
aquaticus, and it scarcely looks like a water-beetle 
at all, not - having the peculiar swimming legs of 
those species which have been described. In fact, 
it crawls rather than swims, preferring to creep on 
the stems and roots of aquatic plants to swimming 
freely in the water. It walks very slowly, and 
occasionally leaves the water and crawls on the 
banks, in which case it has not a very prepossessing 
appearance, being covered with the mud in which 
it has been traversing. There are many species of 
these smaller water-beetles, but those which have 
been described will serve as types for almost any 
species that are likely to be captured. 

The whole of Plate XI. is occupied with a 
group of insects which are tolerably familiar to 
those who live in the country, and have been in 
the habit of watching the various beings that 
inhabit the water. Figs. 2 and 11 exhibit two 
specimens of the insects known popularly as the 
Caddis-flies, while the remainder, from figs. 3 to 
12 inclusive, depict the insect in its varioiis stages, 
and the curious habitation which it constructs. 

All anglers are well acquainted with the Caddis- 
worm, which is so useful a bait, and which will 
often entice a refractory fish which cannot be 
induced to yield to the temptation of an ordinary 
bait. These so-called " worms " are the larvse of 
various Caddis-flies, about a hundred and eighty 
species of which are known to inhabit this country. 
It is evidently impossible to describe all these 


species, and I will therefore select two as. 

Fig. 11 shows one of the largest species, Phryga- 
nea grandis, as it appears when in the act of flying ; 
end fig. 2 shows a smaller species, Leptocerus niger, 
in the attitude which it assumes when walking. 
These insects can run with some speed ; and even, 
if they should fall into the water, they can run along 
its surface with considerable rapidity, leaving a 
long wake behind them, and being generally 
snapped up by some hungry fish before they can 
reach the bank. The last-mentioned insect is notable 
for the great length of the slender antennse, which 
remind the entomologist of the same organs in the 
Japan moth. 

The eggs of the smaller insect are deposited 
beneath the water, being attached in little bundles 
to the stems of aquatic plants, and there left to be 
hatched. "When the young larvae pass from the 
egg into the water, they begin to form for them- 
selves habitations of a rather remarkable character. 

Their bodies are white and soft, and would attract 
the notice of any fish that might pass within a 
reasonable distance of them. Taught by a wonder- 
ful instinct, they gather various substances, and 
fasten them together so as to form a tubular house,, 
in which they live. 

When they wish to move about, they protrude 
their black horny head from one end of their 
habitation, as well as the little legs which are 
attached to the first few segments of the body, and 
crawl slowly along the plants or the stones and 
sticks at the bottom of the stream. While in their 
homes, they bid defiance to the fish, for as soon 
as they are alarmed, they withdraw themselves 
entirely within their cases, and lie concealed until 
the danger is past. 


Their habitations are made of all kinds of ma- 
terials, depending partly on the particular species, 
and partly on the locality in which they have been 

Several varieties of these remarkable habitations 
are given in Plate XL Fig. 3 is one whicl- has 
been made of sand and small stones. Sometimes 
these sand houses are curved, and look something 
like tiny horses. Fig. 4 is one which is formed of 
little scraps of grass and dead leaves : those of the 
fir are sometimes used in this manner. They are 
arranged in regular rows, and the whole structure 
is attached to a stick, which acts equally as a 
support and a balance. Fig. 5 exhibits a case made 
of the same materials, but constructed by a different 
species of Caddis, and which is made of larger strips 
fastened longitudinally together. 





insects (continued). 

N the accompanying illustration may be seen 
specimens of cases which have been selected 

from a large collection. 

Fig. a is made of little 

bits of stone, while fig. c exhibits two specimens of 
the curved sand cases which have already been 
mentioned. Fig. e is a peculiarly good specimen of 

a case which is 
formed of bits 
of grass stems 
cut to measure, 
and ingeniously 
set spirally, so 
as to leave a 
tubular aperture 
in the centre, in 
which the little 
architect lives. 
At fig. b is 
another case, made of fragments of decayed wood ; 
and at d is a singularly ingenious one, made 
of scraps of grass arranged crosswise over 
each other. When first found, the grass was stil, 
green, but in process of time it became dry 
withered, and almost colourless. A somewhat 
similar specimen is seen at fig. 5 on Plate XI. 
but the grass is mixed up with other materials, 
and is not so regularly arranged. 

At fig. f is an example of a kind of Caddis-case 


that is often found, and which is composed of small 
shells, mostly belonging to the genus Planorbis. 
Two other examples may be seen on Plate XL, 
figs. 6 and 7. In making these cases, the Caddis- 
worm is by no means particular as to the shells, 
and is just as likely to iise those which have living 
occupants as those out of which the little molluscs 
have died. 

The young aquarium-keeper is strongly advised 
to procure some Caddis-worms, and to watch them 
at work. They are most interesting creatures, and 
well repay the trouble of examination. If they 
are quietly ejected from their homes, and supplied 
with fresh materials, they will soon set to work to 
build fresh habitations, and by a judicioixs regula- 
tion of the supply of material, they can be forced 
to build cases of all sorts of substances, and to 
do so in such a manner as to produce a kind of 
pattern. Brilliant substances, such as fragments 
of coral, coloured glass, and sands, china, shells, 
straws, and so forth, have been supplied to the 
Caddis-worms, and have been used in the formation 
of their new homes. 

Great cai-e must be taken in ejecting these larvae, 
as they have pincers at the end of their bodies, by 
means of which they attach themselves so firmly 
to their homes, that if roughly pulled out of them, 
death is very likely to be the result. The entomo- 
logical reader will see a curious analogy between 
the habit of this larva and that of the common 
clothes-moth, each making itself a tubular home, 
and each being capable of forming^ a structure of 
materials artificially supplied to it. 

Within these curious habitations the grub passes 
all its wingless life. As soon as it has attained its 
full growth, it closes the end of the case with 
a strong silken network, which permits the water- 


to pass through, it, but is an effectual barrier 
against foes. It then becomes a pupa, and remains 
in that state until the time comes for it to assume 
the perfect form. The pupa is shown on Plate XL, 
fig. 10. 

On the same plate, figs. 13 and 14, are seen two 
odd-looking creatures which can be found easily 
enough in our streams by passing a net along the 
banks, and poking up the mud with a stick. These 
are preliminary forms of two species of those beau- 
tiful insects which are so well known under the 
general title of Dragon-flies. In some parts of the 
country they are called Horse-stingers ; but it is 
scarcely necessary to remark that they have no 
stings, and are perfectly harmless. 

In their arval and pupal states, these insects are 
very interesting inhabitants of the aquarium ; but 
as they are fierce and voracious, they must not be 
placed in the same vessel with other creatures. 

Fig. 14, Plate XL, shows the larval state of one 
of our common Dragon-flies, known scientifically 
as Libellula depressa. It may be easily known by 
its rather short and flattened body. If the reader 
will look at the extremity of the tail, he will see 
that it is terminated by several pointed projections. 
Altogether, there are five of these projections, three 
being much larger than the others. They can be 
separated or brought together at the will of the 

When these plates are separated, a passage is 
opened into the interior of the body, into which 
the water can pass, and with which the respiratory 
organs are connected. As soon as the insect has 
extracted the oxygen, the water is expelled from 
the opening into which it was received. As this 
expulsion can be accomplished with considerable 
force, the insect is driven forward by the reaction 


■of the column of water which is ejected, and is 
propelled in the same way as the various cuttle- 
fishes. Engineers have now taken up this prin- 
ciple, and have built engines which propel ships by 
taking in a quantity of water slowly, and expelling 
it violently through a tube. 

The accompanying illustration exhibits the larva 
of another species of Dragon-fly ; one of the pretty 
demoiselles that flit about the water, and whose 
green or blue wings flash so splendidly in the 
sunbeams. In this species the comparatively large 
size of three of the projections is very plainly 
shown. The perfect form of this insect is shown 
at fig. 13, Plate XII. 

This is an insect nearly full of wonders. It has 
a mode of propelling itself almost unique, and it 
has a mode of seizing its prey which is equally 

Larva, oj Dragon-fly. 

If the head of the larva be carefully examined, 
it will be seen to be furnished with a remarkable 
modification of the jaws. The lower lip is made 
•of foiu' pieces — the two first being used as pincers, 
something like those of the crustaceans, and the 
two others forming a jointed apparatus by which 
the pincers can be laid close to the face, or extended, 
at the wish of the insect. 

A tolerable notion of this apparatus may be 
gained by pressing the hand tipon the mouth and 
keeping the arm close to the body. The hand now 


represents the pincers and the arm the two joints 
of the lip. By means of this curious structure the 
Dragon-fly larva can suddenly dart out the pincers, 
seize a passing insect with them, and hold it against 
its mouth while the cruel jaws devour it. The 
food of this voracious larva consists of any small 
living creature that may come within its reach, 
and even the young of various fishes are not 
spared. The details of this apparatus, which is 
technically called the "mask," vary in different 
species, but the principle of the structure is the 
same in all. 

The mode in which these insects escape from the 
pupal condition, and attain their wings, is singu- 
larly interesting, and ought to be watched by the 
aquarium-owner. In these creatures the change 
from the larval to the pupal form is not so pro- 
nounced as in the generality of the insect tribe, 
the pupa resembling the larva in shape, and 
being quite as voracious in the second stage as in 
the former. 

At last, however, it ceases to feed, and becomes 
dull and languid, looking as if it were going to die. 
However, it has only felt that it has outgrown its 
imperfect condition, and is about to exchange its 
dull existence beneath the waters for a brilliant 
aerial life — a life not less active nor less ferocious 
than that which it formerly spent beneath the 
water. It crawls slowly and languidly up the stem 
of some aquatic plant, and when it has reached the 
height of a foot or so above the surface, it pauses 
and awaits the change. Presently the back begins 
to split, and after a few convulsive struggles the 
Dragon-fly breaks out of the pupal shell in which 
it has been hidden. 

For a while it remains in the same spot, shaking 
out its beautiful wings, which at first are mere 


shapeless projections, but which soon gain then- 
proper form and firmness in the sunbeams ; and in 
an hour or two the Dragon-fly takes flight, leaving 
the empty pupal skin still clinging to the plant up 
which it had crawled. 

The appearance of the insect while employed in 
the act of quitting the shell is shown afc Plate XII., 
fig. 14 ; and in the summer time plenty of the dis- 
carded skins may be seen adhering to the water- 

On Plate XII., fig. 1, may be seen a figure of 
the common May-fly (Ephemera vulgata). Although 
the short life of the perfect insect renders it useless 
as an inhabitant of the aquarium, it is an interest- 
ing creature in the imperfect stages of existence, 
and should be kept if only for the sake of the 
singular manner in which it assumes its perfect 

Brief as is its life in the winged state, the Ephe- 
mera lives for three full years in the condition of 
larva and pupa. The larva of the Ephemera 
burrows in the muddy banks, making holes that 
are shaped something like the letter U ; so that 
the creature can enter its burrow by one hole, and 
leave it by the other, without having the trouble 
of turning itself in its narrow domicile. The food 
of the larva consists of vegetable substances, and, 
from all appearances, the creature seems to swallow 
much of the earth which is excavated in making 
its burrow. As may be seen by the drawing on 
Plate XII., fig. 2, the larva bears sufficient re- 
semblance to the perfect insect to be recognized 
without difficulty, and has the conspicuous filaments 
at the end of the tail, though they are not so long 
as in the perfect insect. 

The most extraordinary part of the history of 
this insect is its power of flight before it has entirely 


thrown off the pupal envelopments. Like the pupa 
of the Dragon-fly, that of the Ephemera crawls out 
of the water, bursts from its pupa-case, and in due 
time takes to flight. But after it has flown about 
for a short space, it settles again, and then under- 
goes another change. The skin again bursts, and 
from its delicate envelope there issues a far more 
perfect form of insect. The wings are more deli- 
cate and gauzy, and the filaments of the tail increase 
to twice their original length. 

The cast skin is left adhering to the object on 
which the yet imperfect insect had settled, and 
hvindreds of these discarded envelopes may be seen 
upon the limbs of trees near water which is 
inhabited by the Ephemera. Their flight before 
casting off this pellicle is clumsy and constrained, 
and it is not until they are freed from its tram- 
mels that they are able to flutter up and down in 
the manner which is so characteristic of these 

We now come to a group of insects, many of 
which inhabit the water, not only in their larval 
and pupal stages, but even in their perfect 

The first of these creatures are those curious 
insects which are popularly known as Water Boat- 
men, and scientifically as Notonectidce. Their name 
is derived from the boat-like form of their bodies, 
and the peculiar manner in which their last pair 
of legs aro modified into oars. By means of these 
swimming legs, the Water Boatman rows itself 
about with much speed. 

They are predaceous insects, chasing other in- 
habitants of the water, and killing them by means 
of a sharp beak-like appendage to the mouth. In 
some of the larger species this beak is sharp and 
strong enough to inflict a rather painful wound 


upon a human being who handles them incautiously. 
These insects have an odd habit of swimming on 
th«ir backs, a custom which has earned for them 
the name of Notonectids, or Back-swimmers. One 
of the larger species, Notonecta furcata, is shown 
on Plate XII., fig. 3. 

Another remarkable insect belonging to this 
group is the Water Scorpion (Nepa cinerea). 
Although it has no sting, and belongs to a totally 
different order of beings, the Nepa does look very 
much like a scorpion, the peculiarly formed pre- 
hensile legs and the pointed appendage to the tail 
adding to the resemblance. 

As in the case with the Water Boatman, the 
Water Scorpion can fly well, its wings being large 
and powerful. A figure of this insect as it appears 

when swimming is shown 
at Plate XIT., fig. 4, and 
the accompanying illus- 
tration shows the same 
insect with its wings ex- 
panded as if in the act of 

This is a very voracious 

insect, and one that lives 

entirely upon other inha- 

Water Scorpion flying. bitants of the water. 

There is a very curious insect which is closely 

allied to the Water Scorpion, but which is not so 

plentiful. This is the Ranatra, a figure of which 

is given on Plate XL, fig. 9. 

This very remarkable insect is found in our 
ditches and ponds, and is notable for its fierceness, 
voracity, and indomitable courage. There is now 
before me a fine specimen which was kept alive for 
a considerable time by a young lady, and which 
seemed to be quite as much at home in an aquarium 


as if it had been in the Kentish streamlet from 
which it was taken. 

As its captor did not know its real name, and 
did not wish to give it a title that had aDy 
appearance of scientific assumption, she called the 
creature " Daddy," because it looked something 
like a Daddy-longlegs. Daddy soon became an 
object of interest to the household, who used 
to amuse themselves by placing it in a small vessel 
together with various aquatic creatures, and watch- 
ing its conduct. There were very few which it did 
not eat, but its favourites were the larvae of Ephe- 
merae, and the fry of fishes. Even little shrimps 
fell victims to its voracity, which seemed insatiable. 

The mode of capturing prey was very curious. 
It would crawl gently towards its victim, lift up 
its fore pair of legs, as seen at fig. 9, and strike 
sharply at the doomed creature. In a moment 
" Daddy " had its victim pressed firmly against its 
mouth, the fore legs being forcibly drawn back, 
and the short, sharp proboscis buried vip to the 
base. At fig. 1, Plate XL, the Ranatra is depicted 
in the act of seizing its prey. 

The rapidity and force with which it could strike 
were really astonishing, when the size of the 
creature was taken into consideration, and in pro- 
portion to its relative dimensions were far greater 
than can be found even in the lion or tiger. 

" Daddy's " boldness was not less remarkable 
than its voracity. Though it disliked being dis- 
turbed, and resented removal from the aquarium 
in which it lived, it was only angered, and not 
frightened. If placed in a saucer with some water, 
it crawled about quite at its ease ; and if a little 
fish or a May -fly larva were introduced, it would 
instantly dart at it, enclose it in its deadly grasp, 
and hold it firmly until all its juices had been 


extracted. So totally devoid of fear was it, that 
if a finger were pointed at it, " Daddy " would raise 
itself indignantly, and strike as fiercely at the 
offending finger as if it had been a fish or a grub 
on which it was about to feed. " Daddy " lived 
for a considerable time in captivity ; and when it 
died, it was placed in spirits and sent to me. 

At fig. 8, Plate XII., is shown one of the 
curious insects which move so easily on the surface 
of the water, and are therefore called Water- 
Measurers. They use their middle feet as oars, by 
means of which they propel themselves, while the 
last pair of legs are trailed behind, and iised as a 
rudder. This, like the other insects, has wings, 
and will therefore escape unless the aquarium be 

On Plate XII., at fig. 7, is a representation of 
the common Gnat (Gulex pipiens), an insect which, 
though extremely disagreeable, is nevertheless ex- 
tremely interesting, and is well worthy of being 
carefully watched. If possible, the mother insect 
should be procured in spring, in order that the 
remarkable method of depositing the eggs may be 

As the eggs are too heavy to float in water, and 

as it is necessary for their well-being that they 

should be exposed both to the air and the s*in, the 

Gnat has the power of fastening them together so 

as to make a miniature boat, the 

(togzMk general appearance of which may be 

Wmm^ seeu by the accompanying illustra- 

EggsofOnat tion - In fixin S the e S§ S * g etner > 
the Gnat makes use of the hind legs, 

which are crossed, and form a guide for the 


This little boat is so beautifully made that it 

cannot be upset, and never sinks. Water may be 


poured over it, but not a drop enters ; and if 
pressed beneath the stirface, it instantly floats 
again, always keeping the same end of the egg 
upwards. The upright position is necessary for 
the eggs, because the young escape into the water 
through the submerged end of the egg, which opens 
to permit their exit. 

The larvse are curious little creatures, with very 
large heads, slender bodies, and having a remark- 
able apparatus connected with the organs of 
respiration. They wriggle about in the water with 
great activity, assembling in great numbers at the 
surface, but diving at the least alarm. 

If the reader will refer to the illustration of the 
larva on Plate XII., fig. 7, he will see that the end 
of the tail is furnished with a divergent tube, at 
the extremity of which is a star-like radiation of 
bristles. Through the centre of this tube air passes 
to the respiratory organs, and when the creature 
wishes to be at rest, it ascends to the surface, and 
lies with its head downwards, and the end of the 
tail-tube just projecting out of the water. 

In process of time, it changes to a pupa, which 
is nearly as active as the larva. The organs of re- 
spiration are, however, arranged differently, being 
placed in two horn-like tubes which proceed from 
the thorax, and project above the water when the 
creature is at rest. 

After passing a few days in the pupal form, it 
ascends to the surface of the water, and there waits 
until the skin bursts along the back. From the 
aperture the Gnat emerges, and dries its wings as 
it stands upon the shed skin, which serves as a raft. 

Any number of Gnats, their eggs, larvse, and 
pupae, can be obtained from a rain-water tub which 
has been exposed to the air. 

At fig. 6, Plate XII., is shown one of our 


handsomest flies, Stratiomys chameleon. It is 
placed among the inhabitants of the aquarium on 
account of its curious larva, which is seen at the 
upper fig. 6 of the same plate. This curious larva 
has its respiratory organs arranged something like 
those of the common Gnat. From the end of the 
tail proceeds a tube, which is terminated by a 
radiating circle of hairs, in the centre of which is 
the aperture leading to the organs of respiration. 
When the creature is at rest, the end of the tube 
just projects out of the water, the radiating hairs 
being spread on the surface, and seeming, together 
with the bubbles of air which they enclose, to act 
as a buoy by which the weight of the body is sup- 
ported. "When it changes into the pupal condition, 
it does not throw off the larval skin, but remains 
within it ; and as it is very much smaller in the 
pupal than the larval condition, it only occupies a 
comparatively small portion of the shed envelope. 

The last insect to which we shall refer in this 
work is the common Drone-fly (Eristalis tenax), 
which is shown on Plate XII., at the lower fig. 6. 
The perfect insect is very well known to all lovers 
of the garden, as it flies from one place to another 
with its peculiarly darting swiftness, and settles 
upon leaves and walls, with its nimble body palpi- 
tating as it respires. 

The larva of this insect is a very singular-looking 
creature, and is shown at the upper fig. 5, 
Plate XII. 

It lives only in stagnant and muddy waters, and 
in old, neglected pools may be found plentifully. 
The largest assemblage of these creatures that I 
ever saw was in Wiltshire. A tub had been sunk 
in the ground for the reception of water, and had 
gradually become half filled with dead leaves and 

insects. I4y 

other debris, which, decomposed into a soft mud. 
This mud was so closely packed with the larvae of 
the Drone-fly, that the water was quite choked 
with them. 

This larva is sometimes called the Hat-tailed 
Maggot, on account of its peculiar structure. Like 
that of the preceding insect, its respiratory organs 
pass through the end of the abdomen ; but in this 
creature, the tube through which the organs of 
respiration communicate with the air is very long, 
and capable of being projected or withdrawn at 
pleasure. Even with the unaided eye, the tracheal 
tubes can be seen within this curious structure, 
while an ordinary pocket lens exhibits them 

As the tiny Entomostraca have been casually 
mentioned, three figures are given on Plate XII., 
by which the reader may recognize the typical 
forms of these creatures. 

At fig. 10 is seen an example of the Water Flea 
(Daphnia), the figure being, of course, very much 
enlarged. The Daphnias are light-loving creatures, 
and fond of congregating near the surface of the 
water, where they will sometimes assemble in such 
multitudes that they look like a muddy belt. 

As the shell of the Daphnia is transparent, the 
body can be plainly seen through it ; and in the 
figure the eggs are seen, as they are kept between 
the shell and the body of the parent. 

Fig. 9 on the same plate represents a very 
pretty species belonging to the genus Cypris. The 
shell of this creature is shaped very much like that 
of a bivalve mollusc, and completely encloses the 
body, only having an aperture through which the 
limbs can pass. 

Figs. 11 and 12 represent the common Cyclops 


in two positions ; fig. 1 1 showing the back, and fig. 
12 the side. This little creature is very plentiful 
in our ponds and ditches, and may be easily pro- 
cured for the aquarium. As the Entomostraca are 
so small, it is better to reserve a special vessel for 
them, placing in it a little duckweed, and allowing 
half an inch or so of mud at the bottom of the 
receptacle. A wide-mouthed bottle answers very 
well for this purpose, and nothing can be better 
than a confectioner's show-glass. 



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